Instapun*** Archive Listing

Archive Listing
November 16, 2006 - November 9, 2006

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Speaker Broad

Surprised (perpetually) but pleased about her election.

YOU DON'T HAVE TO GO TO LAW SCHOOL. Before you get all ticked off about our sexism, take a look at what we said about Denny Hastert back in the year 2000:

The Speaker Guy. The second most powerful man in the United States of Ameria, which means that we must be talking about, uh°, uh... Is it Humbert? Hissifit? Uh, sorry, can't think of it just now. If you find out, please let us know.

So she's the first female Speaker. Kewl. Even Ann Coulter is impressed:

In the past week, there are 476 documents on Nexis heralding the magnificent achievement of Nancy Pelosi becoming the FIRST WOMAN speaker of the House.

I thought we had moved beyond such multicultural milestones.

The media yawned when Condoleezza Rice became the first black female secretary of state (and when Lincoln Chafee became the first developmentally disabled senator).

There were only 77 documents noting that Rice was the first black woman to be the secretary of state, and half of them were issues of Jet, Essence, Ebony or Black Entrepreneur magazine.

A New York Times profile of Rice at the time waited until the last sentence to note in passing that Rice was "only the second woman, and the first black woman, to hold the job." (In a separate column by me, it was noted that Rice was the "first competent woman" to hold the job.)

Well, sort of impressed, anyway. We're sort of impressed too. We even did some (sort of)  research. She's originally from Maryland, where her family made a living as professional politicians. Her father was a U.S. congressman and a mayor of Baltimore, which position he bequeathed to his son, Nancy's brother. She deferred her own political career long enough to get a college degree from Trinity Washington University, which sounds serious even if we never never heard of it before now. She married a man named Paul Pelosi whose real estate empire in California is currently worth $25 million, which is an indisensable criterion for Democrats who care about 'working Americans.' There's no indication that Nancy ever had a job of any sort until she ran for Congress at the age of 48. But we all have to start our careers sometime, don't we?

Our favorite line from her Wikipedia entry, where we did our research, is this:

Pelosi means furry in Italian.

Without any direct personal knowledge, we're still prepared to stipulate that Nancy Pelosi is the furriest Speaker of the House in history (although we're waiting for the inevitable Playboy pictorial to confirm our stipulation).

The topic of superlatives is always relevant when someone becomes the first to do something. So we did some brainstorming and came up with the following superlatives about Nancy Pelosi:

1. She's the first Speaker of the House to have had 67 plastic surgeries: breast augmentation (3), breast lift (2), tummy tuck, chin implant, cheek implant (2), facelift (5), eye lift (46), buttock lift (2), and liposuction (5).

2. She's the first Speaker of the House to have never worked for any entity other than the federal government in her life.

3. She's the first Speaker of the House who doesn't know the rules of football.

4. She's the first Speaker of the House with breasts the size of cantaloupes. (See No. 1 above.)

5. She's the first Speaker of the House who has never drunk a snifter of cognac and smoked a cigar while receiving vigorous oral sex.

6.  On the other hand, she's the first Speaker of the House for whom election to the office made her nipples hard.

Well, we could go on, but you get the picture. I f you don't here's a reminder:

As we've said before, it's all gonna be great. Trust us on this. Or don't.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Peace in Our Time

Speaker-Elect Nancy al Pelosi

Majority-Leader to be Muqtada al Murtha

. Sometimes you just have to marvel at how short-sighted the political analysis in this country is. Speaker-Elect Pelosi is already drawing fire from both the right and the left for her decision to back Representative Murtha for the position of House Majority Leader. These three excerpts from today's Opinion-Journal are illustrative:

...several [Democratic] members are privately aghast that Mr. Murtha, a pork-barreling opponent of most House ethics reforms, could become the second most visible symbol of the new Democratic rule. "We are supposed to change business as usual, not put the fox in charge of the henhouse," one Democratic member told me. "It's not just the Abscam scandal of the 1980s that he barely dodged, he's a disaster waiting to happen because of his current behavior," another told me...

Take the Abscam probe, in which Mr. Murtha was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the late-1970s FBI sting operation in which agents posed as Saudi sheiks and offered members of Congress bribes for help in securing asylum in the U.S. and getting money out of Saudi Arabia... The 54-minute Abscam tape shows Mr. Murtha functioning as a cynical backroom operator, telling the FBI undercover agents: "You know, you made an offer. It might be that I might change my mind someday." Later, he explained how that might happen: "I want to deal with you guys awhile before I make any transactions at all, period," he told the fake sheiks. "After we've done some business, well, then I might change my mind. I'm going to tell you this. If anybody can do it--I am not BSing you fellows--I can get it done my way. There's no question about it."

...a recent book by George Crile, a producer for CBS's "60 Minutes," provides damning evidence that Mr. Murtha escaped severe punishment for his role in the scandal only because then-Speaker Tip O'Neill arranged for the House Ethics Committee to drop the charges, over the objections of the committee's outside prosecutor. The prosecutor quickly resigned in protest.

Come on, people. Grow up. The mission of the new Congress is peace in our time: getting the troops home quickly in some kind of plausible, justifiable way that doesn't look like abject surrender. What kind of skills does that take? Obviously, it takes the ability to Make a Deal. And making a deal in the Arab world isn't accomplished by pollyanna-ish negotiations consisting of feeble altruistic overtures muslim gangsters can't even comprehend. If Maliki, the Iranians, the Syrians, and the various Iraqi sectarian blocs are ever going to be brought to heel, it's only going to be by playing hardball in the terms they understand: cold-blooded tit for tat "arrangements" that compromise and ensnare everybody to the point where they can't refuse. This is obviously Murtha's stock-in-trade.

Where else are we going to find somebody who was getting down to brass tacks with powerful (sort of) Arabs a full quarter-century ago? While most public figures were still too terrified about the downfall of the Shah to get involved in any middle-eastern shenanigans, Murtha alone displayed the appropriate combination of boldness and caution to explore opportunities without paying any significant political price. Who among you is contrary enough, or dumb enough, to argue that this isn't precisely the capability Congress is going to need in order to extricate the U.S. from its tiresome obligations in Iraq?

Think about it. If somebody has to finally sit down at a summit with the bastards in al Qaeda's leadership, who do you want it to be? A nerdy ivory-tower type from the state department? Or a cagey old, no-BS bargainer like John Murtha? It takes a tough man to tender terms in the middle east.

That Pelosi broad is a good deal shrewder than she looks. You heard it here first.

UPDATE. You'll find a good deal more information about Murtha's outstanding qualifications for congressional leadership at Michelle Malkin's blog. Just disregard her peevish tone.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

A Touch of Class

Penn vs. Harvard, yesterday

PSAYINGS.5S.9-11. So, you decide to be a bad sport about the elections, and you're fed up with the whole American scene, from Britney's divorce to Pelosi's permanently startled look as she disputes the idea that victory has any definition at all... What do you do? You pretend that your alma mater hasn't become a malignant nightmare on the landscape of your country and you go see a truly amateur football game between that school you simultaneously love and hate and the University of Pennsylvania.  What do you get? If you're really really lucky, an exuberant reaffirmation.

Not from the game, sad to say. The most valuable player was the Penn punter, who repeatedly pinned a frustrated Harvard team against its own goal line for most of the second half. The Crimson were forced to start offensive series from their own one, two, and three yard lines and failed utterly to escape the trap, which sprang finally with a dull thud as the Harvard quarterback tripped and fell for a safety in his own end zone. (There was once a Harvard QB nicknamed End-Zone Crone. Does anyone out there remember?) Penn won 22-13, even though a game but rattled Crimson team won the second half 3-2.

Not from the ambiance, either. Because of a ticketing error, our Harvard contingent spent the first half on the Penn side, where the fans were moderately pleased with success and moderately disappointed with setbacks. The Penn cheerleaders were scrupulously discreet, interrupting the private conversations of the fans only at selected intervals, except for the guy in the golf cart shaped like a Penn helmet who whizzed by occasionally barking indecipherable cheers through a bullhorn. This kind of hit-and-run encouragement didn't inspire anyone to cheer, not even the corpulent women in black-muslim burkhas who filled all of row three in our section. After two quarters of play, the ambiance meter hadn't budged from zero.

At the start of the second half, down 20-10 and feeling somewhat like a clandestine and impeached president at the Army-Navy game, we transferred to the lightly populated Harvard side of gigantic Franklin Field. There, we saw a welcome shadow of the past as the Harvard Band -- like Marlon Brando in every movie he ever made -- was acting out its own comedy-drama independent of the game, including at one point the assassination of one of its own members with five pounds of flour.  Meanwhile, an entirely new and unwelcome brand of Harvard cheerleader, all female and dolled up in high-school micro-skirts, was doing a terrific impersonation of Britney at a spelling bee. By my count they correctly spelled the words 'score,' 'defense,' and 'touchdown' without a single error. Their smiles were fixed throughout the long sorrowful labors of their team to advance more than a yard or two from their own goal line before having to punt yet again from the back of the end zone. They were certainly prettier than the Cliffies of old, but not one of them ever turned to look at the team they were there to support. They may have had the 700 SATs of old, but no sane man would have bet a nickel that any of them knew the rules of football.

(I'm not going to mention the guy who sat a yard behind my right ear. He's not a cultural phenomenon, but a perosnal curse. He's been in exactly the same relative position to me at every college football game I've ever attended. His vocal chords are made of bronze. He's something of an insider. he knows everyone on the team. He feels that it's his personal responsibility to exhort the team, and the crowd, through every vicissitude of accomplishment and failure. He never shuts up. He can utter the letters 'D' and "O' as if they were the mystic Tibetan phonemes that can end the world, and he can prove it with his own personal trail of permanent ear damage caused... As I said, this is simply my own personal curse, and I will not include it in my impressions of the game, but he was there.)

Where in all of this could there be any reaffirmation? Deep in the tunnel, under Franklin Field, as we were making our way back from the Harvard side to the exit where the car was parked. We reached a point where the stadium security officials asked us to stand aside because the Penn team was comng through on their way back to the locker room. Obediently, we withdrew to the edge of the tunnel, as did everyone else but a four- or five-year old boy wearing a Penn T-shirt. While we waited, he stationed himself along the corridor that had been created for the Penn players and, as they passed, he put up his hand in hopes of a high-five from his heroes.

And here they came, flushed and smiling with their crushing defeat (it was) of the most interminably conceited rival in their conference, and they were big and small and tired and smiling and exhausted, and every single damned one of them spotted the little boy and his outstretched hand and  stopped along the way to give him that high five, including the one on crutches whose leg was wrapped in pressure bandages and for whom each step was a pain and a promise of months of rehabilitation or the end of his athletic career. But he stopped, painfully, and smiled as if there were no bandages on his leg, and balanced his crutches while he high-fived Penn's youngest fan.

There were no cameras. There was no need for show. They just saw the kid, changed their course, and did what good men do. I told myself the Harvard Crimson would have done the same. I realized I believed they would have. And Alabama's Crimson Tide. And Notre Dame. And USC. And the Ohio State Buckeyes. And even Michigan's Wolverines.

For the first time in a week or so, I felt good about my country again. God bless us every one.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Outing Bill Maher

Nothing but a SCAM

CIAO. Ordinarily, we wouldn't do this, but like the man himself says, it's the hypocrisy that made us do it. If you're going to accuse people of things you normally don't disapprove of on the off chance that your disrespectful treatment of their private affairs might be embarrassing in some way, then you have to expect that others might do the same thing to you. So here goes.

Bill Maher is a SCAM, not that there's anything especially wrong with that, but you don't hear him talking about it much, and we do think SCAMs have an obligation to tell absolutely everybody they meet, just so they'll know. The proof isn't hard to find. For example, we found the following at

TNTinCA says on 18/Oct/06
Hard to believe he dated 6 foot Ann Coulter once. Reason 1, that must have been a bizarre looking height difference. Reason 2, well, any guesses? ;-)

trueheight says on 4/Sep/06
actually, I do believe he's 5'8; dunno about footwear though. He was like almost as tall as Rep. Darrell Issa who represents the 41s district here in CA; he's 5'10, i've actually shook hands w/ Mr. Issa

J. says on 6/Jun/06
I met Bill after one of his shows. I'm 5'2 and was wearing 4.5" heals and I was a little bit taller than him. I'd say he's 5'6.

trueheight says on 9/May/06
5'7; I was at a taping of maher's show this season w/ none other than...Seth Green. Green was in sneakers and maher was about 4in taller. anyway, if you're a fan of HBO than you undoubtebly have seen Maher's '98 special in which his 2-3in heels were very very apparent. He's 5'7 barefoot

Mr. R says on 18/Apr/06
He has been listed in People Magazine I think as 5-9. Clearly a misprint.

He's somewhere between 5'6" and (maybe) 5'8". Yet he's calling himself 5'9" and wearing lifts. Let's face it. Any man who misrepresents his height for the purpose of making people think he's taller than he is is short. Short and not quite honest.

Our next key revelation is hinted at by the fact that Maher may have once dated Ann Coulter. Whether they dated or not, they do have something very serious in common. They both went to Cornell. This is something that everyone should always be told about in advance of any sort of conversation. Just so they can prepare. You know. That's why we have previously felt obliged to disclose the same unsettling fact about Keith Olbermann (who's as dumb as they come, by the way, if that tells you anything). And it's why we've written more about the alarming attributes of Cornell  than anyone else in the blogosphere (which you can read here). Not that we're prejudiced or anything. It's just that the American people have a right to know these things and make up their own minds how to respond to alumni of the most disturbingly depressed, envious, and pseudo-intellectual institution in the Ivy League. Coulter. Olbermann. Maher. Draw your own conclusions.

Finally, Wikipedia discloses that Maher has himself admitted that he is "is the product of a "mixed" marriage (Jewish mother, Roman Catholic father)." We hasten to say that we don't personally see anything wrong with this circumstance. In fact, many (or at least one) of our friends have similar backgrounds, but, you know. Facts are facts. Bill Maher is a mongrel.

Short, Cornellian, And Mongrel. That makes Bill Maher a SCAM. We know there are a lot of people who turn and walk in the opposite direction when they see a SCAM coming. We're not like those people. And we know and like many people who are short or Cornellian or mongrel, if not all three at once. So we're not condemning him for what he is. Just for the, you know, hypocrisy.

That's what we had in mind in outing him. It must have been. Or why would we have done it? It's not like he's gay or anything. Or is he?

Well, that would be up to him to tell you, wouldn't it?

Thursday, November 09, 2006


DISSENT. There's a curious thing about reason. It almost always seems reasonable, especially to its most ardent practitioners, but when it's unhooked from common sense, it tends to float off into detached self-absorption, which provides its own immunity against criticism of any kind, practical verities, and, yes, common sense. In the process, it somehow turns reason into its opposite -- from a logical progression toward the right answer to a mere mechanism of rhetorical condescension.

Glenn Reynolds has abundantly documented the pilgrimage of Andrew Sullivan along this path, heh-ing, for example, over the fact that Sullivan's sense of his intellectual gravitas entitles him to review his own book in the most glowing terms while scorning all so-called conservatives who dare to challenge his intellectual and educational superiority. Never mind that even the most casual observer can chart Sullivan's course to Bush hatred from the first instance of the administration's opposition to gay marriage.

I have long believed it one of the saddest aspects of American life that lawyers have so dominated our political life, because legal education is expressly designed to separate reason from common sense, to camouflage ordinary, obvious reality via the pyrotechnics of semantically acrobatic somersaults until the plain facts are rendered bizarre, stood on their heads in a disorienting contortionist's pose. Then it is that the oh-so-rational attorney drily informs us that there are no plain facts except for the ones he chooses to present in his summation. In fact, his real triumph is to substitute himself and his appearance of rationality for common sense.

This is the means by which we journeyed from Martin Luther King's color-blind dream to a Kafka-esque oxymoron of equality achieved by dizzying amounts and degrees of racial discrimination peddled under the rational sobriquet 'affirmative action.' It's how we progressed from the basic moral requirement to be fair to others even if they're different to the latest incarnation of 'poliical correctness' -- blaming ourselves for all the ways we are different from those who view those differences as a reason to annihilate us. It is this exquisite brand of reason that transmutes tolerance to a self-hating death wish. Interestingly, the mechanism by which this sleight of hand is accomplished is not actually reason, but the air of detached objectivity and farsightedness affected by those who presume to know.

And now I am about to commit an unpardonable, irrational sin of the contemporary Internet. I'm going to criticize the Blogfather. In the week before the election, Glenn Reynolds offered up his pre-mortem, explaining why and how Republicans were sure to lose, and mused that a Republican loss was well deserved. He linked to multiple sites in which conservatives and pseudo-conservatives announced they were planning to vote Democrat. I read what they, and he, had to say and sent Glenn the following email:

I read this today at your website:
Reading the comments lambasting Bill doesn't make me feel better about the GOP's current situation. I think that the decision whether to vote for the GOP or not is one that reasonable people, even reasonable pro-war people, can differ on, and Bill is definitely on the right side where the war is concerned. And I'll ask a question that I often ask of the lefties -- do you really think this stuff will win people over?
I didn't read the comments to Bill Quick, but I read some at Brendan Loy's site and added one myself, not profane, but not respectful either. Permit me to point out that as an academic, you are more susceptible than many of us to adopt a perspective that's too, er, academic.  I specifically object to your repeated use of the term "reasonable." This is not a reasonable situation, and it is not reasonable to prefer deliberate, premeditated sabotage of the war on terror to garden variety poilitical bumbling. It is not reasonable to hand the country's affairs over to the likes of Pelosi, Conyers, Rangel, et al. And it is not reasonable to expect that people unprotected by tenure and other academic perks will respond to the schoolteacherish disciplining of "the whole class" by tossing off a proper Brit "Cheerio, old top. Can't say I see it your way, but that's the way the cricket ball bounces. Pip pip." The way they see it, their taxes will go up, their President will be hounded into paralysis, and the national security of their country will be seriously if not irreparably damaged. Why? Because congress spends too much money, Harriet Miers got nominated to the Supreme Court, and various politicians got caught in the wrong cookie jars!!?? Which part of this nonsensical logic do you wish us to take reasonably?
I also commented on your pre-mortem last week, not waspishly and without kneejerk defense of Republicans, as you can see for yourself.
InstaPunk Archive
Something about the tone of your latest comment rubbed me the wrong way, however.
Regards, as always,

He didn't bother to answer, which is his prerogative, of course. But since the election, he has more than once referenced his own pre-mortem in a self-congratulatory way, as if the election were some kind of academic exercise in which he had acquitted himself well. I suspect that's all it really is to the paper tigers of the war on terror. Actually winning it isn't as important as being the smartest one in the room about it.

Today, he has already begun the process of being superior to the political anarchy that has been unleashed by the Democratic win he sort of kind of hoped for. His response? Two of his patented "Hehs" in a single screen. (Scroll to the entry after Dean Demands Recount.) Is that what we have to look forward to from InstaPundit for the next two nighmare years? An endless succession of "Hehs"? Sorry, but this stuff was predictable months ago, and it's just not that funny.

I continue to have great respect for Glenn Reynolds. However, I have begun to doubt the accuracy of the title of his book, An Army of Davids.  True Davids are more focused on winning than being the most brilliant doyenne at the party. What Davids do is go to war for the purpose of winning when everyone else is trying too damn hard to be reasonable.

Like my father used to say when he disciplined me, "This hurts me more than it does you." I mean it and I'm sure I will pay for it. But what's the point of being a little guy if you can't load up your sling and take a shot?


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