Instapun*** Archive Listing

Archive Listing
June 21, 2005 - June 14, 2005

Monday, June 20, 2005

Jack Bauer

OUR FRIENDLY UNCLES. I watched 24 this year for the first time. In many ways it's a silly show, but all its sound and fury does reinforce an elementary imperative that too many people forget: REMEMBER THE MISSION. That's what distinguishes the Jack Bauer character from all his supposed allies in the government and the counter-terrorism organization he works for. The bad guys don't forget their mission, but the good guys keep getting distracted by their romantic relationships, their egos, and most alarmingly, by their inability to imagine that prospective mass tragedy far outweighs the ugliness of what must be done right now, right here, to prevent it. In 24, only Jack Bauer has the vision and the discipline to remain focused on the reality of the situation. He's the one who's willing to torture his lover's husband to find the perpetrator of a nuclear terror plot, the one who will sacrifice the life of someone who saved his own to keep a bad guy with important information alive, the one who will defy a timid President to extract information from a suspect through extra-constitutional means, the one who will repeatedly risk his own life to keep the bad thing from happening. The others remember the mission sometimes, or partially, or up to a point, but at critical junctures they get tricked by their own emotions or the cynical maneuverings of the enemy into disastrous cul de sacs where their prideful, civilized virtues make them accomplices of evil. Somehow, they just can't seem to remember that the right thing to do under ordinary circumstances can be the completely wrong thing to do when 10 million lives are at stake. The horror of the current moment blinds them to the unutterably greater horror of the likely death of 10 million strangers.

The TV show makes this point so often and in so many ways that it becomes almost tiresome. But when I think they're overdoing it, I need only look at the headlines to see that there's no such thing as overdoing it. So-called civlized societies absolutely insist on forgetting the mission.

The most recent example is the Durbin affair. The blogosphere has been saturated with anti-Durbin rhetoric, but the most important part of the story has been forgotten in the rush to pillory one idiot senator. There will always be idiots in the Senate. That's not news, and it's not very important. It doesn't really matter whether he apologizes or not or whether he can be made to recognize his own reckless irresponsibility or not. What does matter is that the mainstream media and the American people can't seem to REMEMBER THE MISSION, which is to win a war against ruthless barbarians who are absolutely set on killing us. The real plotline of the Durbin remarks is that only a handful of conservatives are outraged by what he said. The majority of average Americans are indifferent, the media elites are embarrassed but intent on covering for him, and the spotlight remains fixed on the irrelevant idiot senator rather than the suicidal apathy of the nation he has betrayed at a level which amounts to treason.

So I'm having a Jack Bauer moment. Here's my call to action for the bloggers: forget Durbin. Apply your wit and eloquence to the far more difficult objective of waking up the American people. We are at war, and the mainstream media are the accomplices of our enemies. That's the plotline of our story. You want to be a hero? Expose and defeat the villains who are doing the most harm, not the pitiful dupes and foils they use to distract us from their poisonous ongoing machinations.

UPDATE:  Thanks to Michelle Malkin -- welcome to visitors. Feel free to take a look around.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

There was once a Father who had Two Children -- Part II
Drudge confirms what we reported here April 7th. FYI.

Kneel here, Bill

Queen goes nuts

H.R.H. Queen Elizabeth II

ROCKING ROLL MUSIC. A very disturbing report from the United Kingdom:

Queen Elizabeth II has dipped into the royal purse to snap up an iPod.

The Sun said the 79-year-old sovereign had bought a six-gigabyte silver model for 169 pounds.

The pocket-sized digital music players can hold up to 10,000 downloaded songs...

"The Queen loves music and was impressed by how small and handy the iPod is," a royal insider told the tabloid on Friday...

The newspaper suggested Abba's "Dancing Queen" and "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" by Tears for Fears might be on the royal iPod.

Six gigabytes? Is this a new royal amusement, or is it something more than that, something considerably darker? I was reminded of another Brit, Andrew Sullivan, who delineated the gathering iPod storm back in February. He wrote, in part:

(A)s I looked across the throngs on the pavements, I began to see why. There were little white wires hanging down from their ears, tucked into pockets or purses or jackets. The eyes were a little vacant. Each was in his or her own little musical world, walking to their own soundtrack, stars in their own music video, almost oblivious to the world around them. These are the iPod people...

(L)ike all addictive cults, it's spreading. There are now 22 million iPod owners in the United States and Apple is now becoming a mass market company for the first time. Walk through any U.S. airport these days, and you will see person after person gliding through the social ether as if on auto-pilot. Get on a subway, and you're surrounded by a bunch of Stepford commuters, all sealed off from each other, staring into mid-space as if anaesthetized by technology. Don't ask, don't tell, don't over-hear, don't observe. Just tune in and tune out.

Has it all finally become too much for Her Royal Highness? The Princess Di scandals, the continuous misadventures of Harry and William, the Camilla business, the final mediocre season of AbFab? Is she now about to withdraw into her "own little musical world," where she can "star in her own music video" while "staring into mid-space"? That would be sad indeed.

I prefer, though, to think of hers as a madness more along the lines of King Lear, in which she is actually reconnecting with her subjects by entering the state of spreading "atomist" isolation decried by Mr. Sullivan. While she listens to "Dancing Queen," tapping her royal foot, isn't it possible that in the depths of her anaesthetized mind, a voice is crooning:

Poor naked wretches, whereso'er you are, 
That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm, 
How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides, 
Your loop'd and window'd raggedness, defend you 
From seasons such as these? O, I have ta'en 
Too little care of this! Take physic, pomp; 
Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel, 
That thou mayst shake the superflux to them, 
And show the heavens more just. (Act III, Scene IV,Lines 28-36) 

No, I don't think so, either.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Liberty -- the bell is cracked
Deciding where to move? Most Americans move every five to seven years, at least that's what we're told. And, we found a helpful way to know where to go -- put together by Al Doyle. More accurately, where not to move, if you have a choice.

Al's analysis is not complicated. It doesn't involve complicated computer models that combine the studied values of real estate, education spending, test scores, employment, economic output, or other factors that might be considered by a better funded analysis. No, Al's got to work fast and under budget, so he only looked at one thing -- gun laws.

Time to Move

The logic seems simple enough -- if the citizens of a State don't care enough about their right to keep and bear arms, they probably don't care enough to stop intrusive governmental regulations in every other area of life. Since a low value on protecting life in the most deadly of circumstances leaves the barn door wide open in other less grave circumstances. Makes sense to us.

You're not given a list of places to go, rather a list of States to avoid.

Without further adieu:
  The Seven Worst Places to Live -- by gun law reckoning:
    1. California
    2. Washington D.C.
    3. Hawaii
    4. Illinois
    5. Massachusetts
    6. New Jersey
    7. New York

Highlights include:
NJ -- Only holders of a Firearms Purchasers Identification Card (FID) may legally own a weapon and according to "As of 12-30-03 there are a little over 3000 permits issued in a state of 8 million people. Most are held by retired law enforcement officers." This, of course, refers to concealed carry permits and not to the FID -- we couldn't figure out how many of these exist.

MA -- Residents must register with the state and obtain permission from Massachusetts to purchase even a simple single-shot long gun. Class A licenses are required for handgun ownership, and random restrictions may be placed on the license.

IL -- There is a handgun ban in the City of Chicago. So, no one is shot by a handgun? In 2002, 511 (almost two per day) homicides were committed with a firearm. H-m-m-m didn't they know that it was illegal to own a handgun in Chicago? It is probably illegal to kill people in the City of Chicago too. Outside Chicago -- all Illinois gun owners are required to obtain a Firearm Owners Identification Card (FOID) from the state, and the card must be presented to purchase even a single round of ammo. All gun purchases are supposed to be registered with the state.

DC -- All handgun ownership is banned, and those who own rifles or shotguns must register with the city.

CA -- You must register all handguns with the Department of Justice. There is also a 10-day waiting period for every gun purchase.

You can read all the details in Al's analysis.

What to do? Well, as we like to say, "That'd be up to you." You can live in these places and break the law. You can live in these places and attempt to abide by the laws. You could work feverishly to change the laws. Or, you could just look around at the forty-three other states that value your liberty a bit higher than these frightful seven. Good luck.

The S-Word

Is it killing baseball?

PSAYINGS.5S.4-8. When the United States Congress decided to hold hearings about the unaddressed problems in baseball, I was exhilarated. I thought that the greatest game in the world might be salvaged in spite of itself. I looked forward to an in-depth investigation of the rummy doings with the S-Word. But I was bitterly disappointed. All the beltway crowd wanted to talk about was steroids. No mention of the real S-Word: socks.

I began to wonder if I'm the only one who's noticed. Anybody else? Take the picture up top. It's a college team. Most of the players are wearing their pants to just below the knee, where the baseball socks begin. But just as in the major leagues, there's something else going on in the picture too. Something sinister. Starting in the middle of the picture, you can see a player with his pants extending all the way to the ankles. To the right of him there's another and another doing the same. And the player who's out in front of the rest of the team is wearing his pants all the way to his shoe tops.

This isn't an isolated phenomenon. It's like a cancer on the game, a creeping malignancy that will destroy baseball as surely as the ludicrous spinnaker costumes worn by basketball players have transformed the NBA into a clown show.

Babe Ruth vs. Derek Jeter

"So what," I can hear some of you saying. "Big deal." Well, it is. For three reasons. First, why do you think they call them uniforms? Members of a team are supposed to dress alike. Yet it's clear that players are doing whatever they want with their trouser lengths. It's unprofessional. Second, the result is jarring to the eye. Especially for those of us who grew up with baseball -- all those generations of baseball socks embedded in our brains -- the pants-to-the-shoe-tops look is akin to the hip-hop fad of displaying four inches of boxer shorts above the low-riding waistband. It gives the impression that something has fallen down that shouldn't. Baseball pants are supposed to show plenty of sock, a fact borne out by the third reason this is such an outrage: it undermines a mysterious but not insubstantial element of the history of baseball.

Sandy Koufax vs. Randy Johnson
For whatever reason, major league baseball has always been obsessed with socks, even to the point of naming teams after them. You don't find any NFL teams called The Purple Helmets or The Black Shoulderpads. But baseball has the Chicago White Sox, the Boston Red Sox, and the Cincinnati Redlegs (as far as I know it's still their official name). So it's kind of important even if none of us understands where this peculiar fixation came from. And it's damned annoying when disrespectful players tarnish the legacy of their own teams with displays such as this:

The Boston Red Jax?

Scarcely a red sock in sight. And why exactly is it better to look like a housepainter than a major league baseball player?

Still think I'm over-reacting? Then explain this:

Detail from Red Sox photo

It's the next step in the process, pants that follow the mall fashion mode of wrapping under the heel of the shoe. In this direction lies the end of baseball as a sport -- players tripping and falling and losing games because of their own feckless sartorial affectations. It has to be stopped forthwith.

The worst thing is that it's happening everywhere. Even little league teams are looking motlier than usual because some of the kids wear their pants right, and others wear them wherever. Can't we get back to some standards of decency in at least this one small category of tradition?

Which do you prefer?


...or this?

Some things -- especially small things -- really should be held sacred.


Well, I'm glad I got it off my chest, anyway. It's been bothering me. Now, hopefully, it will bother you too.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Disturbin' Durbin

Senator Dick Durbin, all happy and everything after his Guantanamo speech.

HALLITES. A few Republicans were really amazed when Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois commented on an FBI report about prisoner humiliations and hardships at Guantanamo in these terms:

"If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime-- Pol Pot or others -- that had no concern for human beings."

We just figured he hadn't done any homework about the Soviets, etc, but shrewder heads than ours suspected darker problems than that, especially when this little item came to light:

Durbin did not plan to apologize for the comments, spokesman Joe Shoemaker said.

"This administration should apologize to the American people for abandoning the Geneva Conventions and authorizing torture techniques that put our troops at risk and make Americans less secure," Durbin said in a statement Wednesday evening.

Again, we thought he just didn't know that terrorists are not covered by the Geneva Conventions, but we were wrong. Not long afterwards, a friend called with the very sad news that:

(The) brain was severely shriveled and weighed about half that of a normal adult's. The damage to it "was irrecoverable, and no amount of treatment or rehabilitation would have reversed" it, said pathologist Jon Thogmartin.

At least he and his young friend are still smiling. That's nice.

Our sincere condolences go out to the Senator and his family, along with our immense relief that we didn't say any of the nasty things that have been popping up all over the internet.

UPDATE. For those of you seeking more depth in coverage of Durbin's remarks, Michelle Malkin has become the unofficial clearinghouse for blog entries reeducating the Illinois senator. And if it's depth you want, here is InstaPunk's lengthy (and quite serious) essay on torture in Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia as they relate to the Abu Ghraib infractions.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

 Michael Jackson's
 Extreme Makeover

A new look for the King of Pop.

AN XOFF NEWS 'XCLUSIVE'. Reliable unnamed sources have informed InstaPunk's XOFF News Team that one week from today, Matt Drudge will be breaking the most shocking story yet about the final days of the Jackson trial:

The Drudge Report has just learned that in the frantic final days of jury deliberation, the Jackson camp was so alarmed about the prospect of a guilty verdict that the decision was taken to prepare the troubled singer for a term in prison. The strategy? Another round of plastic surgery, the most extensive yet undertaken by the former King of Pop.

The much publicized trips to the hospital in the week prior to the verdict were an elaborate deception, during which Michael Jackson was actually admitted to the hospital for surgery to give him the likeness of the late Charles "Sonny" Liston. A Jackson spokesman said privately that the intention was to enable the singer to survive the physical confrontations of life in a penitentiary.

The spokesman said, "Let's face it. A face that could scare the then Cassius Clay could probably still scare the most dangerous brutes in the joint. At least, that was the hope."

The person who returned from the hospital to Neverland and subsequently attended the reading of the verdict was an impostor, reportedly a young Greek woman who bears an uncanny resemblance to Jackson despite being 25 pounds thinner. Her silence before and after the reading of the verdict was necessary to conceal the fact that her voice is considerably lower than Jackson's.

In an ironic turn, the surgery was completed just prior to the delivery of the verdict, and the Jackson spokesman cited above says that the full head and body makeover will now be spun as a measure to prevent small boys from being so overwhelmingly attracted to the singer in future.

"I've seen him since they took the bandages off," said the spokesperson, "and believe me, he'll scare the pants off little kids from now on. Well, maybe I didn't word that exactly right, but you know what I mean..."

No word yet on how Michael Jackson feels about the result of what in retrospect was unnecessary surgery, but in the days since the end of the trial he has already begun work on a new album, tentatively titled "Git Down with the Godfather of Pop," from which we've been able to acquire the following brief clip: CLICK HERE

The XOFF News Team will continue to beg, borrow, and steal whatever we can from the Drudge Report, in accordance with the highest standards of journalism, as always, to keep our audience up to date on the vilest gossip we can pass off as news. Stay tuned.

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