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January 23, 2006 - January 16, 2006

Monday, January 23, 2006


Amazon

Jane Hamsher

PORTRAIT OF A LADY. What I first noticed as an annoyance at Amazon.com a year ago -- nasty reviews of conservative books by lefties who obviously hadn't read them -- has escalated to become the internet's newest form of ad-hominem assault and battery. Michelle Malkin today flags the large-scale hate campaign orchestrated by Jane Hamsher (who blogs at Firedoglake.com) against Kate O'Beirne's new book on its Amazon page. While La Malkin devotes most of her attention to the mugging by phony review of Fred Barnes's new book, she also informs us that Ms. Hamsher, who refers to Kate O'Beirne as "sandpaper snatch" and worse, has been invited to defend her new hobby at a live Washington Post roundtable discussion.

For those of you who don't know who Jane Hamsher is, I thought I'd share a couple of excerpts of her own contributions to prose. (Warning: NSFW). Here is her response to "jurassicpork," a sympathetic reader of her blog who nevertheless objected to the ugliness of the assault on O'Beirne:

jurassicpork -- I don't need to read that fucking book to know it's dangerous, I see her face all the time on cable news and read enough exerpts [sic] to confirm that the worst is not even close. Her eliminationist rhetoric is disturbingly omnipresent and there are critical times in its dissemination cycle when it is vulnerable to counter-attack before it can do its damage. That time is now, not six weeks from now when everyone's had themselves a good, considered read-through.

This is not a book club. We are not here discussing the fine points of literary style. The effectiveness of making an example of someone like Kate O'Beirne depends on hitting them during peak interest time, right as the book is being released. I'll leave the tea sipping to the literary critics, this is politics down and dirty. Nothing more, nothing less.

What's much better, of course, is Hamsher's own contributions to the world of art and literature. She was, for example, one of the original producers of Natural Born Killers (not to be confused with the director, writer, or any creative role other than owning rights to a screenplay and hanging grimly on to the income opportunity during the making of the movie). On the literary side she wrote a book about her big lucky breakthrough, which represents a marvelous addition to the thriving field of personal journalism. Here are the first few paragraphs of that masterpiece:



Well, you get the idea, I'm sure -- a distaff Hunter Thompson. It's called Killer Instinct, but it probably could have as easily been named Fear and Loathing in Hollywood. Her other producer credits include From Hell, the umpteenth reworking of the Jack the Ripper legend, and Permanent Midnight, a sweet little movie about a real-life comedy writer who used to take his infant daughter along on his heroin buys. The works of, you know, a progressive and idealistic charm princess.

I'm not providing links to her blog, her Amazon page, or her movies because I'm not soliciting abuse of her. I'm just suggesting that you remember the name. It may come up again.




Saturday, January 21, 2006


The Illiterate Left

He's a kid. And he's (let's be honest) a smacked ass.

PROGRESSIVES. I looked in on the influential political factotum known as the Daily Kos. I'm told that he and Atrios and other lefty bloggers are responsible for the lefthand spin-out of the Democratic Party. That without the leadership of people like Kos, Kennedy, Biden, Leahy, and company wouldn't have made such outstanding jackasses of themselves during the Alito hearings. Here's what I found when I went looking for the political science of Kos:

 In the 1700s Englightenment thinkers constrained the power of unearned wealth and unmerited privledge [sic] because they saw it was destroying civil society.  In the process they brought into existence a society where wealth and privledge [sic] were theoretically to be achievable by people solely through their own inborn gifts and personal efforts.  This altered the churn of history, bringing more and more people and their otherwise unlooked-for talents to bear on problems and ideas that would have never occurred to inbred, drooling royalty.

Where to begin? With the spelling errors? Spell the same word wrong twice in the same paragraph and you're telling us -- what? Right. That you're perfectly equipped to lecture George Will. (Which we have done here by the way. But not this way.) George may be a prig, but he's got an intellect that wasn't fabricated in a video-game chat room.

Uh, yeah. I just got the bulletin about how not being able to spell is only proof of the imperative of the masses to smash the bourgeoisie or something. Something about the ubiquity of spell checkers in the 21st century.Sorry. When you go up against George Will, you better KNOW HOW TO SPELL even if you look like Gilbert Gottfried. (I suspect even Gilbert Gottfried knows how to spell "privilege.")

Moving on. The Enlightenment thinkers didn't "constrain" anything. They began a dialogue in the marketplace of ideas that ultimately invested individuals with the confidence to act on their own behalf. Of course, constraining is a reflexive power of government, not independent thinkers. Perhaps that's what confused "Kos" about the Enlightenment. He never understood that it constituted an act of reclaiming power from government rather than acceding more power to government.

Oh come on. Who are we kidding? Kos is a boy. A not particularly bright or well educated boy. Yeah, he's grown up enough to use his website as a seine for despicable and obscene assaults on Michelle Malkin, but who on earth would ever take him seriously as a leading exponent of ideas for a major political party? He can't write. He can't spell. He conflates hatred with argument and abuse with proof.

Bah. If this is the best the Democrats can do, let them do their worst best. We're ready. Bring it on, all you pitiful little putzes.





Golden Globes, etc


THE G-BLOCK. We tend not to pay too much attention to Brent Bozell's columns on entertainment. He's undoubtedly a good and smart man, but we've always had the feeling -- rightly or wrongly -- that in his ideal universe, movies and television would be reduced to an endless rerun of the old Wonderful World of Disney series. We really do like South Park, and despite the depressing scriptwriting trend exemplified by Deadwood and its wall-to-wall F-Words, we still think parents in control of the off-button is the preferred form of censorship. But every once in a while, Brent makes a point worth noting. Here's an excerpt from his current entry on the Golden Globes:

 It’s become a cliche to note that the Golden Globe Awards voter pool is an extremely small clique for such a big-buzz awards show. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) boasts “about 90" members, many of them Europeans. But their influence over the Oscars, and then the culture, is enormous....

Look no further for the European sexual decadence than the movie acting categories. The best-actor contest for a drama was a neck-and-neck race between Heath Ledger, playing the gay sheepherder in “Brokeback Mountain,” and Philip Seymour Hoffman, playing the gay writer Truman Capote in “Capote.” The best-actress nod went to Felicity Huffman for playing a male-to-female transgendered person in “TransAmerica,” a film presently in nine – count ‘em, nine – theatres in these United States. Or should she be in the best actor category? Perhaps in the future, we’ll have a best Transgendered Performance category.

A delighted Michael Musto of the Village Voice summed it up on MSNBC: “It was gayer than an Ikea on Super Bowl Sunday.”

We don't object to the fact that there are dramas on the big and little screens about being gay. We object a little to the Big Lie perpetuated by gay people that they represent 10 percent of the population. That's a long discredited statistic culled from the laughably unscientific studies of Kinsey. The real number is about 1 1/2 percent, which is slightly higher than the percentage of the world's population that is Jewish.

It turns out that this is an interesting comparison to make. Jews have long played a dominant role in the mass media, having owned and developed much of the content for movies, television, and newspapers since their inception. They are also over-represented (versus their percentage of the population) in the performance professions, notably as actors and comedians. Exactly the same can be said of gay people, who are over-represented among the ranks of actors, dancers, set  and costume designers, hairstylists, writers, and fine artists . Both Jews and homosexuals have been persecuted for centuries. It's hardly surprising that either group would occasionally call attention to its own experience of life, given that they have spent so much time reflecting and illuminating our -- to them -- alien lifestyles. Too, both groups have contributed substantially more to the cultural canon than their percentage of the population would seem to predict.

One can try to draw distinctions. For example, one could try to asseverate that Jews are not afflicted with a plague that kills them for acting on their Jewishness. But this argument does not hold up. Jews are routinely killed simply for being Jewish. Substitute Hamas for AIDS and you'll see what we mean.

So why would anyone object to the exceptional year in which gay people dominate the Golden Globes? Haven't they earned one year in which they can crow and parade their differentness?

Yes and no. There are differences between Jews and homosexuals. Unlike Christians, for example, Jews rarely proselytize. They accept their Jewishness and are proud of it, but they also know theirs is a club you can't join. You have to be born into it. The tremendous body of literature written by Jews about being Jewish is chiefly notable for its self-deprecation, self-doubt, and its humor. Scratch any Jew and you'll find someone who has at least wondered if life mightn't have been easier as a Methodist. Jews speak of the Jewish "lifestyle" only in terms of comedy, as a continuous joke that they have learned to appreciate and now want to share with others.

Psychologically, the exact same condition must predominate with homosexuals. But that's not what we see. Jews do not secretly believe that everyone else is Jewish at heart. Homosexuals, on the other hand, are -- and this is 1-1/2 percent of the population, remember -- convinced that everyone else is, in their heart of hearts, like them. There is a difference between pride and hubris. The hubris of homosexuals is their failure to fully understand that heterosexual tolerance for their proclivities is he very best they can hope for. They will gain no converts. They will not become a movement or a philosophy. Judaism is a religion, but to the overwhelming majority of the world's population, homosexuality is only a pathology, a condition to be pitied if not censured.

Context. We are in a time of worldwide upheaval and threat. It wouldn't be inappropriate if this were the year of Schindler's List and a remembrance of the suffering of the Jews. But it is an inappropriate time for obsessing about a tiny minority who are distinguished not by their history, philosophy, or convictions, but only their specific sexual desires.

In THIS year, the homosexual focus of the Golden Globes is denial. And perversion.




Friday, January 20, 2006


Just a Suggestion...
 



OLD SCHOOL. The liberal elite -- you know, the ones who are so much better and smarter than the rest of us -- seem to be having themselves a bad week in all kinds of arenas.

Hollywood liberal genius George Clooney probably thought he was being as witty as a latter-day Oscar Wilde at the Golden Globes:

...Clooney, during his acceptance speech for best supporting actor, thanked Jack Abramoff  “just because” and made a comment about the lobbyist’s name.

“Who would name their kid Jack with the last words ‘off’ at the end of your last name? No wonder that guy is screwed up,” Clooney said during the internationally televised awards show.

But a joke can be said to have backfired when an aged parent of the target offers up this kind of response:

“You want to make fun. You can do that, but you don't make fun of someone else's hardships and misery,” the 78-year-old Abramoff said. “We’ve gone through quite a bit in our family. But the political end of it and the media end of it and all the other areas are one thing. When you see something like that on a show for 500 million people, it was not only a slap in my son’s face but in my father’s.”

There can't be anything much worse than being made to feel small by one of your inferiors. But that's been happening with regularity this week. Consider the sad plight of the Numero Uno Democrat legislator:

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid on Thursday apologized to 33 Republican senators singled out for ethics criticism in a report from his office titled "Republican Abuse of Power."

"The document released by my office yesterday went too far and I want to convey to you my personal regrets," Reid said in a letter.

"I am writing to apologize for the tone of this document and the decision to single out individual senators for criticism in it."

Reid came under attack Wednesday over the report, which was issued by his staff on Senate letterhead, even as he and fellow Democrats released ethics overhaul proposals.

That's got to sting, having to swallow words of that sort. But it's nothing compared to what Teddy Kennedy, as well as other members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, have had to swallow. Kennedy publicly accused Judge Alito of belonging to a sexist Ivy League organization, only to be exposed himself as a current member of a sexist Ivy league organization. Kennedy said Judge Alito was "itching to overturn Roe v. Wade," only to have the National Enquirer expose an "itch" of his own that fully explains why the senator is so passionately devoted to legal abortion. Kennedy and his committee colleagues have also been subjected to disciplinary treatment of this sort:

On the other side of the aisle, Republicans treated the confirmation hearings like some kind of incredibly arduous burden that might prove impossible for the judge to endure. Some Republicans seem to be amazed that Alito has survived at all.

For example, Senator Orrin Hatch said, "I don't think you've been fairly treated and it makes everybody wonder why would anyone want to do these jobs."

While I am amazed that Alito managed to stay awake the whole time, let's not get carried away here.

Granted, sitting in any kind of forum and being forced to talk to Kennedy, Durbin, and Schumer is a borderline violation of Geneva Convention rules against torture. You'll get no argument from me, there. But it's not like these people are destroying Alito’s self-esteem.

For Alito, being lectured by these three goons on character and morality is like having Manson, Bundy, and Dahmer chairing a committee that criticizes your "sketchy people skills and inability to play well with others." I seriously doubt that Justice Alito goes home crying at night because Ted Kennedy was mean to him.
 
Mean? Is it really possible that liberals can be characterized as mean? According to the Washington Post, yes:

 The Washington Post shut down one of its blogs Thursday after the newspaper's ombudsman raised the ire of readers by writing that lobbyist Jack Abramoff gave money to the Democrats as well as to Republicans.

At the center of a congressional bribery investigation, Abramoff gave money to Republicans while he had his clients donate to both parties, though mostly to Republicans.

In her Sunday column, ombudsman Deborah Howell wrote that Abramoff "had made substantial campaign contributions to both major parties," prompting a wave of nasty reader postings on post.blog.

There were so many personal attacks that the newspaper's staff could not "keep the board clean, there was some pretty filthy stuff," and so the Post shut down comments on the blog, or Web log, said Jim Brady, executive editor of washingtonpost.com.

"We're not giving up on the concept of having a healthy public dialogue with our readers, but this experience shows that we need to think more carefully about how we do it," Brady wrote on the newspaper's Web site. "There are things that we said we would not allow, including personal attacks, the use of profanity and hate speech."

At the risk of trampling further on already bruised liberal toes, I'm going to suggest that there's a pattern in all this. If the libs involved in all these instances had simply remembered what it is to be polite, none of these unfortunate after-effects would have occurred. Imagine what the week's news would have been like if George Clooney, Harry Reid, Teddy Kennedy, Chuck Schumer, Patrick Leahy, Dick Durbin, Joe Biden, and the passionately liberal readers of the Washington Post had observed the following simple rules from the child's tutorial above:

Do not use Bad Language.
Do not Bully; only Cowards do this.
Be Pleasant, and not Quarrelsome.
Do not Jeer at your Schoolmates, or call them Names which they do not like.
Do not make Fun of Old or Crippled People, but be particularly Polite to them, as well as to Strangers and Foreigners.
Never be Rude to anybody, whether older or younger, richer or poorer, than yourself.
Never Interrupt when a person is speaking.
Always mind your own Business.

I'm well aware that manners is an old-fashioned and outdated subject, which means that George and Harry and company will merely snort if the word is mentioned to them, but there might be a way to help the liberals through this and many future rough patches nonetheless. It's called Sensitivity Training, a mandated program of education that is generally required in any mixed environment of the demographic regarded as the most overprivileged of the group. When black and white conflict in an organization, the whites are consigned to sensitivity training. When men and women conflict in an organization, men are sent to sensitivity training. When black and hispanic and muslim conflict in an organization, whites are ordered to sensitivity training. And so on.

Now if the liberals really believe that they are smarter, better educated, and more enlightened generally than the rest of us, they should be able to see that it is they who are obligated to learn how to get along with the rest of us, not the other way around. The course can be called whatever it has to be to procure their participation, but I'm pretty sure the most effective content would be the one-pager shown above.

I'm sure they'll want to thank me later.




Thursday, January 19, 2006


The Short List


XOFF NEWS. Reuters is reporting that the new president of CBS News has changed course from the direction plotted by CBS Corp. President Les Moonves in 2005.

Moonves last year suggested that CBS News might benefit by moving away from the traditional newscast presentations with a solo anchor delivering the news as if he or she were "the voice of God."

Since assuming his new position, though, Sean McManus has decided that the CBS audience really does want "the voice of God":

"I think having one person as your primary anchor is the way to go," McManus said. He confirmed that the new anchor would come from outside of the existing CBS News stable and that he and CBS Corp. chief Leslie Moonves are eyeing a "relatively" short list of candidates.

Makes sense. There can't be a long list of people with the credibility and authority to be as godlike as Walter Cronkite. You're looking for a particular kind of attitude, charisma, and world view that are darned hard to find. Everyone knows that Katie Couric is on the list, but hardly anyone knows what we've been able to learn -- the names of the other candidates for the CBS Throne of God. Here they are:


Keith Olbermann

If it's okay for God to be a complete blithering idiot, Keith would be a good choice. We'd bet a month's pay that this schmuck still believes Dan Rather's forged documents were authentic.


Terry Gross

She's the star of NPR's most popular interview program (dozens and dozens of people listen to it), and she sounds the way God would sound if He were a skinny woman with glasses and a lot of weird ideas. At least everyone would know that CBS wasn't trying to pull off a Peter Jennings imitation, like NBC did with Brian Williams. People would get used to her in time. Sort of.


Al Franken

Don't laugh. He's got that CBS News voice -- pompous, gravelly, and ponderous. He went to Harvard, you know, and his politics are right on the money. God is probably a stretch for him, but he is an actor; he might be able to get away with it. Look how long it's taken everybody to figure out that Walter Cronkite has the IQ of a turnip.


Randi Rhodes

With Air America going down in flames, this chick is going to need a job. She's probably only on the list because she's a female broadcaster who's also a certified Communist, but we think it would be a good idea to put her behind the big desk. We haven't watched CBS News for 40 years, so it's a good way to get her out of circulation.


Barbra Streisand

Is there really that big a difference between being God and thinking you're God? Oh. Well, she's already famous and she likes to talk about politics. No? Okay.

And the Winner is....


Osama Bin Laden

Now that he's not dead again, he's the perfect choice. He hates George Bush (almost) as much as all the others, and he's been working on the "voice of God" thing for most of his adult life. He also has Walter Cronkite's unique knack for turning American victories into crushing defeats. And think how wonderful it would be if CBS News did only one broadcast a year for about ten minutes. Cool.

Sorry, Katie. Maybe when we're all living under Sharia...  Oops. Maybe not.




Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Analogies.
Remember them?


       
    
  
::

:   

DAVE.57.20. Maybe there's hope after all. Probably not. Sure as shooting, Kiefer's on record supporting his old man's crazy politics. That would be Donald, by the way. The one who's currently playing the psychopathic Republican staffer on Commander-in-Chief (lower left) while his son has become the long-awaited American James Bond, the affectless patriot and deadly efficient anti-terrorist of 24.

The thing is, even if Kiefer claims to be a member of the Hollywood liberal cabal, we'd have a hard time believing it. He's the executive producer of 24, which means he gets to approve the story lines. Somehow, he keeps showing us that when it comes to battling enemies of our country, you have to be prepared to be ruthless, decisive, and resolute.

He reminds us of Chris Wallace, who is the best professional mainstream media interviewer we've ever seen. Chris is never impolite. But he always asks hard, clear questions. And he's always there -- meaning physically present and ready for a determined follow-up -- when the questions are being asked. Unlike his own crazy father, who had a habit of being filmed asking the questions into a camera after the  interviewees had already been filmed and set up by Don Hewitt's favored editor.

It's tempting to ask what Donald Sutherland and Mike Wallace -- the Dads -- had in common. We think we know. Cheekbones. The poor, struggling younger sons had to carve out their careers with rounder, less predatory faces and, in place of melodramatic eyebrows, talent.

Cheekbones versus talent. Talent versus cheekbones. It's so hard to pick. But we have to. So we will. The answer is: Cheekbones. Time to flush all those round-faced, chinless, nerdy sons of famous men down the john. Why?

We have pretty goddam nice cheekbones ourself. You don't like it?. Go whine to Instapunk. He might even agree with you, but he's too tired of everyone to raise a stink about it. And let's face it. If Instapunk doesn't care anymore, the game is completely and utterly over.
 





The Evil that is the Owl Club

Teddy's terrible secret

STARVING. All kinds of people have been digging deep into history to uncover the evil sexist, racist history of the Owl Club at Harvard. For once it's time to give Teddy a pass. The chief claim to fame of the Owl Club was not secret male-worshipping rituals, but something far simpler than that. Turkey sandwiches. Really good turkey sandwiches always available in the refrigerator for members AND guests (of all sexes). Better than the excrescence shown in the picture above -- no vile cucumbers, just the right amount of mayo, and quantities of rich roast white turkey breast. If Teddy somehow failed to keep up with the recent checkered history of the organization, it's almost certainly because he thought of it as a place where he could always stop in the vicinity of Cambridge to get a between-meal turkey sandwich. Just sign the chit and dig in. You want something more sinister than this explanation? Look at him, for God's sake.


Has this man been eating turkey sandwiches? Yes.

He didn't know the Owl Club was oppressing women like that silly post-prep school in New Jersey Alito went to. Ask him. I'll bet he confirms every word I've said.

IMPORTANT NOTE: All kidding aside, the blogger Mad Mikey needs our help. La Malkin has the links. Do what you can.




Monday, January 16, 2006


And one more thing...

Roy Blunt and You-Know-Who

A NEW MANDATE. We always like to seize the moment when we agree substantially with Hugh Hewitt, since there have been times in the past when we didn't. But his application questionnaire for those seeking GOP leadership positions looks like a winner to us, especially the integrity stuff and this:

Part IV. The Media Stuff

Please attach a video file of your three best appearances on television. We'll be the judge of that.

Thank you for your interest. We'll be in touch.

But after watching the current contenders for House Majority Leader on Fox News Sunday, we think an additional very specific question is needed here in Part IV:  Has anyone ever told you, or suggested, or hinted, however jokingly, that you look like Howdy Doody?

More generally, we'd also like to express our consternation and concern about the fact that so many Republican members of Congress (past and present) do look like Howdy-Doody -- or his father, cousin, sister, or dumber brother. Maybe Hugh would take the time to explain that to us, given how nice we're being here.






Is there anything we can do about this? Seems like it would help.




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