PGA Gallery: (from left to right) Tom Darfa, Fred McCutchy, Ted Angelo, Zippy Kendall,
and Mac Duff.
THE GREATEST GAME.
It's Day 3 at the Byron
Nelson Classic in Irving, Texas.
With no Tiger Woods on this course -- or any PGA tournament course for the
next four to six weeks -- the play proceeds in the near silence of an
interment. The leader, whoever he is, nobody's quite sure, tees off
from the first hole and no one's eardrums are shattered by the cry of
"GET IN THE HOLE!" The few television announcers on hand are amazed to
discover that the striking of a golf ball has a sound, which they keep
reporting as an "odd thunk" or a "strange thwack." But when the ball
comes to rest several hundred yards down the fairway, there is another
sound that seems in this setting quite unexpected -- a smattering of
polite applause. The PGA Gallery has just been heard from. A caddy
looks in their direction, crosses himself, and whispers, "Thank God."
It's not what you'd call a big
gallery. As the final pairing of pros heads down the first fairway
toward their second shot, we introduce ourselves to the new unsung
heroes of the PGA: Mac, Zippy, Ted, Fred, and Tom. They don't look like
heroes, but what do you call the people who do what no one else will do
in a time of urgent need? Our conversation is brief, conducted in
whispers, but nevertheless revealing. What, one wonders, are they doing
"Sure, it's boring," concedes Mac, who seems to be the leader. "Without
Tiger, spectator golf is basically watching grass grow under the feet
of plump, poorly dressed strangers. But if we weren't here, there
wouldn't be anybody at all. That hardly seems right when millions of
dollars are going to change hands at the end of it. If people can clap
at the close of a day of Wall Street trading, I can contribute
some applause and an occasional 'ooh' or 'ah' to a clever bunker shot."
Fred concurs with a sotto voce chuckle. "Being here gives you a sense
of real purpose most people don't get to experience. The guys who are
going to NBA or NHL playoff games this weekend may think they're being
loyal in some way, but they have to have at least a suspicion that
they're also being entertained.
All that action, exciting plays, leads changing hands from minute to
minute, they'd have to admit is fun. During the work week, I'm an
attorney for a big firm. We don't do pro bono. I like to think of this
as my way of giving back."
"Well, I actually enjoy it, " murmurs Zippy, who's sporting binoculars
and looks happy to be the odd man out. "I signed up as soon as I heard
about Tiger's surgery. I mean, where else can you find this kind of
total peace and quiet? The Tiger Gallery is a loud, thundering herd.
You can't hear yourself think when they're on the course. And he's too
predictable anyway. What I really enjoy is watching some total unknown
line up a difficult putt for three minutes and then, with that look of
incredibly earnest dedication and doubt playing across his face, take
his best shot and blow seven feet past the hole. In silence. That's
what I call real life."
There's a soft snort from Ted. "These guys are shining you on, dude.
The truth is, we all like golf. No matter who's playing. Yeah, it's
true we don't have any idea who these guys are for the most part, but
they're all really good at golf. They've worked and sacrificed their
whole lives to get here and yet when they do, there's no one here to
watch. That's just not right. That's why all these jokers are really
here. Regardless of what they tell you. They're honoring the game. And
the men who play it really well. So what if they're not all handsome
and personally charismatic and rich enough to turn an aircraft carrier
into a private yacht. All of these guys could play eighteen holes at
St. Andrews and come back alive, if slightly over par. They deserve
some basic human respect."
Only Tom hasn't been heard from. We're almost to mid-fairway, where the
leaders' second shots await. What about it, Tom?
"Me, I'm a Tiger fan. He loves
this game. What does it mean if everybody who plays it is a chump but
him? Doesn't it kind of say we don't have any real respect for him and
his accomplishments, either? I'm here because he'd like to be playing here,
against the best of the best. If I yawn from time to time, it's only
because I stayed up way too late last night, watching "The Greatest
Game Ever Played" for the fifteenth time.
Then the gallery shushes us and turns completely away. The leader has
begun the intricate process of selecting his club. You could hear a pin
In fact, we did drop a pin. We heard it land. It made an odd if tiny
THE EXCITEMENT BUILDS: (left
to right) Mac Duff, Zippy Kendall, Ted Angelo, Fred McCutchy, and Tom Darpa. Hang in there, guys.
The PGA Gallery. They don't really expect any recognition. The way they
see it, they're just doing their duty.
The Headhouse Gang
Patti Smith wasn't a racist, is she?
GUY RESENTMENT. When you get
hundreds of comments to the effect that you're a racist, mostly from
people who have lived their lives in such a tiny sliver of protected
America that they think black people are Halle Berry and Samuel
Jackson, you get worn out. I give up. I admit it. I'm a racist. The way
the endless waves of lefty certainty define it, at least.
I'm not changing anything I said before. There are still black people I
admire. What I acknowledge that I may not have been clear about before
is that I believe American black people
have made themselves inferior in the competition for the
Does that change the equation in any way? I used the N-word because so
many people regard NOT using it as the proof of their color blindness.
Personally, I think all the people who got so exercised about the use
of the unspeakable "Nnnnnnnnnn" term proved that they are racists. There's no equivalent
term for whites that would have made them so choleric: hence, the Grand
Inquisitors have a double standard. They're obliged to oversee the
welfare of poor black folk because
they're inferior and need protecting.
So I'm a racist because I don't
think they need protecting. I think they need a hiding. Unlike all the
suburban I-met-all-my-best-black-friends-in-college-and-they're-willing- to-like-me-for-my-ingratiating-obeisance, Obama-worshipping illuminati, I
actually grew up with black people. Why don't they trust each other?
Why do so many of them have multiple names and identities, like fugitives? Why do they warn
even their white friends against doing business with (or buying drugs
from) other black people? Why, after all these years, do they still act
like members of the Resistance, happy seditionists who acknowledge no debt
and seize on every opportunity to misuse a mistaken credit card?
Because I'm a racist.
Obviously. Even my lamenting
of this state of affairs makes me "patronizing," "paternalistic," and
somehow Simon Legree-like. Apparently, the rest of you like to be conned, lied to, played
for a fool, and generally suckered by anyone who can spin you a good
This isn't your experience? Where are you from, then? Maybe not from
the part of the African-American community that contributes 40+
percent of the prison population to the record-setting incarceration
total in the U.S. That's racial profiling, right? No. It isn't. It's why black people are more afraid of black people than you are. They have more common sense. The
violence Europe sneers at us for is overwhelmingly caused by
But it's okay because their ancestors were slaves? No. It's not
okay. If your oppressors' major charge against you is that you're
stupid, violent, sexually insatiable, childishly drawn to shiny
objects, and not to be trusted around expensive mechanical objects, how
do you help yourself by demanding millions of dollars for chanting 100-decibel
doggerel about how many gold chains and guns you're wearing while you screw all the
beautiful blondes in your neighborhood in the back seat of your Bentley
Mulsanne? Oh, and by the way, you'll actually KILL anyone who claims
he's wearing MORE chains while screwing MORE beautiful blondes in the
back seats of even MORE expensive Bentleys.
And we white people aren't supposed to notice the race angle...
We're not supposed to notice that our own sons and daughters are being
swept up in the iambic death knell of rap. We're supposed to think there's nothing racial about the transformation of our daughters into tattooed ho's (Heard the term 'tramp stamp'? No? It's the visual distraction from premature doggie-style ejaculation inked on your daughter's lower back...)
and our sons into mush-mouthed thugs who can't escape the law because their pants
are buckled around their knees. So that if anyone anywhere dares to use
the N-Word, that fact alone makes him worse -- even when it comes to
protecting our own sorry-ass children -- than all the pimps who destroy girls with
drugs for money and more opportunities to sell drugs and show their
tits and ass to all comers. The people who do this kind of thing are N______.
I know. Everyone's against me on this. Even my own wife. You just can't
say that awful word. It brands you as something unspeakable. As
something worse than the underprivileged manipulator who lies in wait
at the bus station to capture 14 year old girls and send them back into
the streets as prostitutes until they die from drug addiction or random
murder. You can't call pimps a dirty name. And we already know what to
call a girl who spreads her legs for drugs or fear or money. Especially
if she's white.
But there's nothing racial about such tragedies. My own wife has never
once in her life even thought
the N-Word. Not ever. It's never even occurred
to her. She's lived all her life within a hundred miles of Newark and
Jersey City, and when she sees the "snippets" of news about wildings
and rapes and murders she never connects it with any racial component.
In fact, she hasn't even realized that local news in Philly and New
York no longer identifies the race of a suspect being urgently sought.
I mean, why would they do that? It's so unfair to go looking for a
"black male" when everybody already knows that the guy who raped the
college girl and stuffed her severed head into the dumpster was a
black male, isn't it? Just because you know doesn't mean you're allowed
to get that racist confirmation of what
you know. That would merely reinforce your unacceptable prejudice.
Unless you're me. The guy who doesn't know how to say it pretty. The guy too old to fuck around. The
racist. The guy who didn't grow up in some narrow economic slice of
suburbia with a bunch of false notions about how undangerous a criminal underclass
might be. The guy who grew up in two counties where everyone, black and
white both, knew that black guys were responsible for almost all the
violent crimes, no matter how much the psychologists wanted to pretend
that murder was just the "acting out" of childhood grievances.
I have a rebuttal for all the suburban saints who danced on my head for
using the N-Word. Fuck you. You have no ugly real-world experience. But I do. And I repeat
the fact that I don't hate black people. I don't fear them either; I know when to fight, when to run, and when to do the trash talk or the oh-so-humble guilty white act. I'm old as the hills, wrinkled as a year-old peach, and still alive, dammit, even though I have more than once been drunk as a skunk in an all-black bar. Match that, you cartoon dude motherfuckers. But
I DO believe absolutely that black people in this country have to get their own act together
before they start telling the rest of us how to live. And as for you
twenty-somethings who think you know something about life, guess again.
Try to kill me and I'll kill you. Funny thing is, try to kill you in another 20 years, and you'll kill the ones you're
defending today. The ultimate color-blindness is realizing that killers
need to be killed, even black ones.
If we've got all that straight, maybe you can start gettiing to the real problem. It's not me. It's all of you out there who never use or think the N-word and yet believe that black people need all kinds of special protections and favors because they're too inferior to compete on an equal basis. Which includes most black people and all you assholes who get more fired up about the N-word than you do about 'kike' or 'gook' or 'spic' or 'mick.' The differential in your outrage is the measure of your racism. How are you planning to root that out? By yelling at me? By cutting off any part of your own body which dares to notice that black people can't get ahead without massive, federally enforced cheats in their favor? Or by facing down your own prejudice and trusting black people to be equal enough to compete like every other disadvantaged group has -- by expecting more of themselves and each other than the 'oppressors' do.
Even you must have noticed that prejudice didn't really stop them from succeeding in areas where they excelled for real. Otherwise, there'd be affirmative action programs in the NBA and you'd never have heard of the Motown sound. How do you explain such exceptions to yourselves? Sports and music aren't as cutthroat competitive as the rest of life? Please. I'm the racist and I have the explanation you can't quite put your finger on. A free market isn't racist.
Let me repeat that. A free market isn't racist. Only rigged markets are. And really superior competitors can shoulder their way past the phony restrictions of rigged markets. That's why black athletes broke through the color barrier in collegiate and professional sports. That's why they parlayed the tiny beachhead called 'race music' into dominance in jazz, R&B, blues, and other popular music genres. If you really believe they aren't inferior, they can do the same in every other aspect of American life. But not if you coddle them like retarded children. That's what saps their will, their self-confidence, and the resolve it takes to overcome all the unfair obstacles that lie in wait for everyone.
If you really aren't a racist, prove it. Stop overprotecting them. Stop making excuses for them. Take the wraps off the N-word. Use it as much as they do, until it's utterly lost its black magic sting. Do away with affirmative action. Treat them as you would anybody else -- with suspicion and distaste -- like those damn pushy Jews, workaholic Koreans, money-grubbing Indians, getting-by-on-looks-alone blondes, evil chicks who sleep their way to the top, old boy networks who've always had the inside track. You know what I'm talking about. Your mind is a forest of prejudice and bigotry. There isn't any group you don't have some stereotyped grudge against. Except black people. For them you have nothing but love and understanding and deep-seated convictions about equality. Even as they're slashing your throat for the seven bucks in your wallet. Horseshit.
Do them the honor of suspending your own hypocrisy. Resent them the way you would anyone else who's slightly different from you. Stab them in the back exactly the way you would your best friend if he stood between you and a golden financial opportunity. Call them every dirty, foul name you can think of, the way you would if your significant other cheated on you and didn't care when you found out. When you can do that, you won't have to worry about me and my kind anymore. You'll have to worry about them acing you out of your job, your spouse, your sense of inborn moral superiority. And won't that be a paradise on earth?
Friday, April 25, 2008
Twists & Turns
you hear something freezing over?
THE WIDENING GYRE.
Peculiar things are going on. The falcon is definitely getting mixed
signals from the falconer. For example, there are actually two good
reasons to watch 60 Minutes
this Sunday. When has that ever
happened? But if you tune in, you'll get to see Justice Scalia put Leslie
Stahl in her place.
"I say nonsense," Scalia responds to
Stahl's observation that people say the Supreme Court's decision in
Gore v. Bush was based on politics and not justice. "Get over it. It's
so old by now. The principal issue in the case, whether the scheme that
the Florida Supreme Court had put together violated the federal
Constitution, that wasn't even close. The vote was seven to two," he
Furthermore, says the outspoken conservative justice, it was Al Gore
who ultimately put the issue into the courts. "It was Al Gore who made
it a judicial question…. We didn't go looking for trouble. It was he
who said, 'I want this to be decided by the courts,'" says Scalia.
"What are we supposed to say -- 'Not important enough?'" he jokes.
Cool. And that's not all. In another reckless move, 60 Minutes is also featuring an
interview with the head
of the Israeli Air Force, who is given air time to make a point as
dead obvious as Scalia's -- that Israel doesn't think Ahmadinejad is
joking when he declares Iran's intention of wiping Israel off the map.
Of course, you can expect them to do some CBS-style spinning and
misrepresentation, but we know for sure that some of the necessary
things do get said on the air -- not on the editing room floor -- by
the interviewees. Amazing. (Just remember to change channels before
that old bastard Andy Rooney starts squawking at the end of the show.)
Next thing you know, Barack Obama will miraculously agree to appear on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.
Just kidding. Never gonna happen.
Obama Watch Comes To An End: Fox News Sunday Gets Obama!
Chris Wallace must be happy...
FishbowlDC has learned that Sen. Barack Obama will finally appear on
Fox News Sunday this weekend. A pre-taped interview is slated to take
place Saturday in Marion, Indiana.
You'll recall that Wallace started the "Obama Watch" in March (and even
put notice of it on his office door) and dated it back to May 2006,
when Wallace said Obama agreed to a face-to-face interview on Fox News
What do you suppose changed his mind? Could it be the other absolutely
unbelievable thing that happened on Fox News this week?
Actually, this kind of turnabout is happening enough on Fox of late to make
left-wingers start scratching their heads. Back in January McAuliffe
complained about mainstream media bias (?!) to Chris Wallace and even joked
with him about Bill Clinton's ugly Fox interview. Then, this week,
he was a guest on John Gibson's Fox radio show and utterly trashed
MSNBC's Chris Matthews. And McAuliffe isn't the only former DNC chair to
start cozying up to the most hated name in cable news. Governor Ed Rendell
praised the network in March
and again this
month, which earned him Keith Olbermann's ultimate plaudit
(1:40 in), to which he responded
pretty directly on the Charlie Rose Show: "Keith Olbermann should be on
the Obama payroll."
It all kind of defies analysis, doesn't it, to hear any Democrats talking this way?
It's reminiscent of that terribly ominous scene in Ghostbusters (2:00 in).
Venkman: "This city is headed for a
disaster of biblical proportions."
Mayor: "What do you mean, biblical?"
Ray: "What he means is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor... real
Wrath-of-God-type stuff. Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies."
Venkman: "Rivers and seas boiling!"
Egon: "40 years of darkness, earthquakes, volcanos."
Winston: "The dead rising from the grave!"
Venkman: "Human sacrifice, dogs and cats, living together... mass
Dogs and cats living together. Would that be anything like this?
What the hell is going on? Gingrich is trying to explain
it away, but we're inclined to think it's part of some astrological
inversion where Mercury is in retrogade and all the houses are
misaligned with the planets under a bad rising sign or something. How
else would you explain Jenna
Bush suddenly -- pointlessly -- volunteering on national TV that
she might not vote for John McCain? Or John McCain -- still sorely in
need of winning over a recalcitrant conservative base -- going out of
his way to slam
Bush for a Katrina screw-up most conservatives believe owes more to
city and state incompetence than to Washington's?
For that matter, who would have expected that the decisive rebuttal of
a Washington Post hit piece
on McCain's dangerous temper would have been delivered by arch-Democrat
Kerrey? (btw, many hat tips to Hot Air for the above.)
And above all, who out there could possibly have imagined that a New
York Times columnist delivering a speech on an Ivy League campus would
assaulted as if he were Ann
Coulter or Pat Buchanan or
some doesn't-deserve-to-live scum like that?
Yet in this most extreme circumstance, we can see the beginning of an
explanation for the chaos. It's all about the New York Times. For at least a
century, the "Paper of Record" has been the linchpin of the intricately
interleaved framework of the vast American media-political complex.
Everyone from senators to network news producers to small town
editorialists to professors and novelists looked to the front page of
the Times and its op-ed section for guidance about what was news, what
was a legitimate political or social issue, and what didn't count for
squat. In a very literal sense, the Gray Lady was the Great Nanny who
ordered the way to our current over-protected and hyper-sensitive
Then she gradually went senile and, frankly, insane. Imposing her will
through increasingly inept sons and grandsons, she hired reporters for
their color and sex and politics rather than ability, she forgot the
meaning of basics like fact-checking and fairness, and she began to embarrass herself in public like
old aunt shouting gibberish
Without her even being aware of it, everyone has stolen silently out of
the room. They're loath to admit it, but these days the place everyone
looks first to see what's happening is the Drudge Report, where the
only criterion for the front (and only) page is sensationalism. If a
headline isn't the umpteen-zillionth reworking of "Man Bites Dog,"
you're out of luck -- unless you can prove that hundreds or thousands
have died or maybe possibly might.
"Man Bites Dog" is the approximately correct headline for most of the
anomalies we've reviewed here. We've all subtly absorbed the lesson
that doing the unexpected is the last way left to get attention in this
increasingly silly media circus. So Republicans scorn their own two-term president who has prevented another 9/11 and tilted the odds against al qaeda, blue-chip liberals eviscerate the Clintons for exactly the same attributes they defended tooth-and-claw a decade ago, and everyone everywhere pretends that what used to be called advocacy (and sometimes truth-telling) is some kind of hate crime that gives all decent people a paralyzing anxiety attack. All the also-rans and has-beens and might-be's scramble ceaselessly around with their hands in the air and in each other's pockets, hoping to be the next surprising headline. And, oh yeah, every hack attention-seeker who claims the sky is falling must be some kind of irreproachable saint.
Good God Almighty.
Is this what we want? Is it? It's at least something to think about. Can we really continue in this overwrought, I'm-so-offended, I'm-so-perfect, look-at-meeeeee media hysteria in perpetuity without having some kind of national nervous breakdown? Don't we need SOME adults in the mix? Where might we find them? (HINT: Not at Drudge.) Any ideas?
The New York Times won't be coming
to our rescue any time soon in case that's what you were hoping for.
Various processes have already been initiated to assess the old gray mare's deterioration
with an eye to having her declared incompetent and sent, well, to the glue factory.
This is what the Brits call "deep tapioca." Deep indeed.
may offer some insight as to exactly what kind of glop was hurled at
Roger Friedman in his appearance at prestigious Brown University.
Lest you feel the New York Times
is a unique phenomenon, it may help to realize that the London Times is pursuing a similar
downward spiral. For just one brief example, here's an op-ed
published in that paper by one of its editors (also linked in Drudge btw)
who condescendingly observes that America is not ready to elect a black
president. Never mind that his dissection of the troubled Obama
campaign describes garden-variety political missteps and character issues that could derail
any presidential bid. Never mind that the author is a
Russian-born London resident whose association with the U.S. could most
charitably be summarized as visitor. We're supposed to be impressed
with the acuity of his pronouncements on the basis of his superior
Euro-intellect. The London Times
is also going not-so-gentle into that good night. The one where the
lights finally go out, for excellent reasons.
scourge has begun. Rice is the new Euro, the new coke.
Behold this actual footage of the deadly Basmati underworld.
. Thing are moving fast. The Wall Street Journal is imploring us
all to begin stockpiling
food, only 48 hours after we (as usual) beat them to the punch.
Yes, it's serious. Very
serious. Even Bloomberg
is sounding the alarm:
[A]t Berkeley Bowl Marketplace,
long-grain rice is sold out.
"Our distributors can't get any,'" said Kirk Tamaki, 56, Berkeley
Bowl's Asian food buyer. `"Short grain is all we have.'"
A global rice shortage that has forced China and Vietnam to curb
overseas sales of the food staple has reached the San Francisco Bay
Area, home of one of the largest concentrations of Asian-Americans in
the U.S. Stores, restaurants and food banks report dwindling supplies,
and retail prices are rising...
What neither WSJ nor Bloomberg is reporting, due no
doubt to their mindless thrallitude to the capitalist system, is that
casting has already begun for the Anthony Zuiker production, Miami Rice.
Starring Vin Diesel, Yun-Fat Chow,
and some girl with big riceballs.
According to Zuiker's toadies, the new series will be much sexier and
more exciting than CSI Miami,
more along the lines of "that old show from the eighties where guys
dressed like studs not dweebs, and chicks knew how to get down with a
sweet-and-sour takeout dish." The ambiance will be relentlessly high
class, because "everyone knows that basmati is just absolutely f___ing
What's especially sinister is that Zuiker insiders are already hinting
that the casts of CSI, CSI NY, and CSI Miami will actually be murdered
early next season, as bullet-riddled casualties of the new basmati
wars, and will be immediately replaced by a range of new shows,
including Spanish Rice, L.A.;
Gordon Ramsay's London Risotto;
and San Francisco Treat. In
every case, the new productions will focus on "the deadly
life-and-death struggle of exceptionally beautiful people to maintain
the world-class quality of their pantries at all costs". And the music
will be "f___ing fabulous -- crisp, firm, distinct, and savory. More
like it was before American Idol
turned pop music into soggy rice pudding."
Yes, we're worried. When Hollywood commits to a new trend as quickly
and adamantly as this, it's clear we're looking at a major new cultural
phenomenon. Will America be able to survive the "Global War on Nouveau
Cusine" (GWONC)? Or will this be one more violent step toward the
inevitable comeuppance that's been waiting in the wings, lo these many
years, for our stupid, phony palates?
Right now, it doesn't look good.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Small towns were hit the hardest by
the tumultuous campaigning
. The candidates, the armies of campaigners, and the
mass media task forces are gone now, already descending on hapless
Indiana. Pennsylvanians are suddenly alone with the enormous job of
recovering from the F5 Primary of 2008. It's a bleak prospect. No
matter where one stands, the view is essentially the same -- a
landscape blasted and flattened by gales of rhetoric, unending
bombardments of broadcast advertising, and swirling vortexes of
promises, insults, polls, sound bites, blogs, and ugly photo-ops.
Pennsylvania. Blasted and flattened
by the primary campaign.
As with any large-scale disaster, there are additional crises emerging
as by-products of the initial catastrophe. Every single cheesesteak in
Pennsylvania has now been eaten, and there isn't any beer left to wash
it down with if you could find one. All the cheap bar-brand liquor is
gone too. And Obama staffers drank all the bottled water. Most of the
televisions in the state are ruined -- their screens permanently etched
with the ghostly image of Barack Obama after nonstop weeks of replaying
exactly the same sets of campaign pixels. Most of the arable soil is
gone, eroded away by the millions of holes created by yard signs. The
telephones have all stopped working, their little ringers blown out by
hundreds of thousands of calls from pollsters. The entire network of
fiber optic cables has also been burned out by the ruinously heavy
traffic of media and political emails. The communication satellites
that once served this part of the country are, for the same reason,
nothing but dead hulks in space.
Tragically, there seems to be little prospect of emergency aid for the
stricken state. FEMA won't help; there's still a Republican in the
White House, after all. Governor Ed Rendell is too busy celebrating his
candidate's glorious victory to recognize that it has been, for most
common folk, not a victory at all but a nightmare of infrastructure
destruction. And there are no media left here to tell the story.
We'd send them a sympathy card if there were any address to send it to.
If you know of one, let us know.
But the Flyers won. And the Sixers are still one up in their series. Maybe the good
citizens of Pennsylvania will find a way to muddle through.
. It's getting bad out there, folks. The Second Great
Depression is just around the corner. Unemployment is over 5 percent.
Somebody who knows somebody you know is having trouble paying his
mortgage. Gas is so expensive that some people are starting to resent
their giant SUVs. Others have even been forced to trim their summer
vacation plans. And the evil corporate lobbyists who run the economy
have already started food
Farmers and food executives appealed
fruitlessly to federal officials yesterday for regulatory steps to
limit speculative buying that is helping to drive food prices higher.
Meanwhile, some Americans are stocking up on staples such as rice,
flour and oil in anticipation of high prices and shortages spreading
Their pleas did not find a sympathetic audience at the Commodity
Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), where regulators said high prices
are mostly the result of soaring world demand for grains combined with
high fuel prices and drought-induced shortages in many countries.
The regulatory clash came amid evidence that a rash of headlines in
recent weeks about food riots around the world has prompted some in the
United States to stock up on staples.
Costco and other grocery stores in California reported a run on rice,
which has forced them to set limits on how many sacks of rice each
customer can buy ..
OMG! Just imagine a worldwide shortage of rice. All those Asian people
will starve absolutely to death, and worse, we American victims of the
evil capitalist machine that's destroying the global economy won't be
able to get any more Nestle Crunch bars, which use puffed rice as a
principal ingredient. Stock up now! And don't forget this vital foodstuff:
Are you starting to get it, you opiated proletarian doormats of the
bourgeoisie? You better. Time is ticking off the clock even as you're
scratching your dumb deluded head.
And don't think the crisis begins and ends with rice. One of the
biggest problems has to do with corn. Why? Because all the farmers in
Iowa have stopped growing everything else and started growing corn to
be used in making ethanol, so our descendants won't die of heatstroke
three hundred years from now. Which is good and cool and everyhing,
because we all want to save the planet. Problem is, all the corn is
going to ethanol, not food, which means that the next thing that'll be
rationed is all the stuff we eat where corn is some kind of ingredient.
For South Americans that means they'll starve to death, of course,
because everything they eat -- from bread to beef -- won't be there
without corn. (Unless they can live on ethanol at 8$ a gallon. Maybe
they'll still die, but they'll go out singing.)
But for us Americans it's really
serious. Which of us would even want
to live without this constitutionally guaranteed staple of existence?
And that's just the beginning. Do you know what chickens eat? That's
right. Corn. We won't have this anymore, either:
We'll all slowly waste away from colds we can't get rid of because
there's no chicken noodle soup to clear our bronchia.
Are you terrified yet? They can't do
this to us. We have rights. Get to the supermarket right away and buy
every package of the stuff we've shown here, pack it away in your
fallout shelter, and then start emailing Hillary and Obama to demand
that they take all the necessary actions. We want laws. We want
programs. We want protection. We want universal junk food insurance.
screwed up. But government can fix everything.
PICK-ME-UP. Pardon me if I sound fatigued. I blogged the Pennsylvania
Primary yesterday from beginning to end. Hillary won. Obama lost.
Hillary spoke for a few minutes. Then Obama took the stage, in Indiana,
and poured on the special magic he is supposed to possess. I tried in
vain to see Hillary's victory speech. Instead, every cable news channel
seemed to be running and re-running this majestic non-concession speech
by Obama all night long.
I'll confess right away that I don't share the universal conviction
that he's a great orator. To me, he sounds like an imitation preacher.
His whole accent changes when he launches into his periodic rhythms of
self-aggrandizing gospel. I see an editor of the Harvard Law Review trying to come
off as an inspired backwoods evangelist. I keep expecting him to heal
someone. Just for the hell of it. I might be more impressed if he
didn't turn immediately into a careful attorney at a deposition
whenever there's no teleprompter to feed him his lines. But he does. In
debates, he reminds me of every lame, verbose prosecutor CourtTV has
televised in its now terminated subversion of respect for the legal
profession. In short, Obama the inspirational firebrand leaves me cold.
I guess I'm the only one who doesn't see it. Even the National Review and the Weekly Standard are larded with
praise for such performances. Is there some obligatory correctness
about all this that I've missed again? Probably.
I've honestly been grateful for the less fanciful flights of rhetoric
exhibited by Michelle Obama. She seems to come very close to saying
what she really means. I've started regarding her as her husband's
translator. What is it he's really asking?
all have to work for the government.
Uh, no. I don't agree. I don't want a president who won't let me live
my life as usual. I don't want to be conscripted into canvassing
neighborhoods and making phone calls so that the government can reach
even deeper into my life and try to fix my personal eccentricities,
undo my sins, and turn me into a better unit of a better nation. I
don't even really want change,
unless change means there aren't going to be as many instructions and
regulations printed in small type on every fucking thing I come in
I know this is a total waste of time. But I'm offering a link to an
orator who made Obama look like a game show host. By accident(?), he
also happens to rebut practically every point Obama and his wife have
ever made in their over-praised public speaking performances. It's
called The Speech.
Most of you will find it an irrelevant and possibly offensive artifact
of the past. Some of you will
find it something of an antidote to the tons of crap that have been
dumped on the American electorate in recent months. Note that it
involves a clear statement of political philosophy rather than a
superior recitation of pompous, nonspecific platitudes. He doesn't remind you of Elmer Gantry or Don King. He's making an argument to equals, not disciples. It's not even
about how much everyone should trust the speaker to save them from the
miseries of their pointless lives. It's about what people have a right to expect from the public servants who claim to be acting in their interest. Hah.
Yeah, don't watch. It's much much better to believe that nobody ever
knew anything before Obama came along.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
The air is electric with excitement around here. The polls have opened
in Pennsylvania, and all the morning shows have their cameras trained
on the action. I haven't actually seen a voter yet, but I've seen a lot
of news correspondents bracing for the onslaught. The pundits have
checked in on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News to declare that Hillary should
win by 5, 6, 7, or 8 points but really needs to win by 7, 8, 9, 10, or
11 points to remain credibly in the race. That's pretty clear and
definitive, isn't it? Rudy Giuliani has already made the same joke on
both CNN and Fox News. Something about a dress. I can see I've got more
channel-hopping research to do... I'll be back in a bit.
The cable news channels are still rehashing the same stuff, so I poked
around the web a bit. Drudge is building a backdrop for the election
campaign consisting of a plunging economy, 5$/gal gas, worldwide
famine, and food rationing. That should get the blood pumping for all
the agents of change. RealClearPolitics is more sharply focused, with
stories on: Obama, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania, Obama, Obama, Obama,
Obama, Clinton, Obama, Obama, and Obama. Which is a lot like the
political commercials have been on Pennsylvania TV in the past couple
weeks. Obama even ran multiple ads during one of the Flyers' playoff
games this weekend. Hard to imagine that fans of "the hockey" are
his best targets for conversion, but who knows?
Late last night, there was an Obama ad on the History Channel or some
damn place explaining that we should vote for Obama because every
single newspaper in Pennsylvania has endorsed him. This is really hard
to figure having watched segments of both candidates' stump speeches
most of the morning. Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC was reporting that the
issues which matter to voters are the economy, the economy, and the
economy. Yet both Clinton and Obama keep saying that the way to fix the
economy is to raise taxes on rich people and corporations. Obama wants
to double capital gains taxes; Hillary wants to punish high gas prices
by charging oil companies a windfall profits tax. They both talk about
creating meaningful new jobs.
How does any of this allay the fears of even a moderately
self-interested voter? How does government ever "create" a real job
that isn't just make-work welfare paid for by taxpayers? How does
taking money from the rich and giving it to the government help a
single mother trying to pay the rent? How does charging oil companies
higher taxes reduce gas
prices? Taxes are part of their expenses and when their expenses go up,
gas prices go up. How does taking more money from rich people stimulate
the economy? Less money in the private sector is somehow supposed to
make the economy more prosperous as a whole?
Who really buys this crap? Apparently, all the newspaper editors in
Not much news. It seems the news channels are going to stick with
their plan of not sharing exit polls. But there is some exit info:
Obama has left Pennsylvania for Indiana. That seems a bit extreme, as
if he couldn't wait for the very first opportunity to escape from all
those small town weirdos he's been trying to placate. Are the few
crowds he might speak to in Indiana while keeping an anxious eye on the
results back in PA really worth suggesting to Keystoners who haven't
voted yet that he couldn't stand a single more minute in their company?
I'm sure his handlers know best.
Sorry I've been gone so long. Got to reading some of those Obama pieces
over at RealClearPolitics. Most of them have a very strong line of
argument: "There's this, and then there's that, and then again nobody
better forget about the other thing." There's one honestly insightful
piece in the catalogue. It's here.
I also listened to a few minutes of Rush. Unlike all his more polished
brethren, he's not mincing words at all. He's called the whole thing:
Obama gets the nomination and then gets "creamed" in the general by
McCain, although the Repubs will lose enough seats in the Senate and
House to give Democrats the votes they need to pass the legislation
they want. It's all already a done deal.
So what am I doing sitting here blogging the totally irrelevant
Pennsylvania Primary? Following orders. I don't suggest anybody else
try doing this, though. Have you ever watched what the cable news
channels put on in the daytime? Boring, annoying, sickening muck, mixed
in with repetitious you-heard-it-ten-times-before muck and a huge
dollop of where-the-F-did-that-come-from muck. An example of the last
type -- on the Fox News Channel, three women lawyers, including the
host, arguing about whether it's rape if a woman changes her mind
during sex and the guy takes a full five seconds to stop. There was no
hair-pulling, but all three of them were talking at once several times,
and you know what that sounds like. Muck.
You can see why I don't want this primary to be meaningless. I've got a
lot invested. And that's why I'm going to go ahead and share this idea
with the Hillary camp. It's still not too late to bump the margin up
to the 12 to 15 percent edge everybody seems to think would be
significant. Here's what you do. Get Hillary a phone hook-up with WIP
SportsTalk and all the chief sports correspondents at the Philly TV
stations. Have her go live on the air throughout the entire urban area,
and promise to use the full power of the federal government to
guarantee that Philadelphia will win two major sports championships
during her first term. Specifically, that means winning any two of
these: the Super Bowl, the Stanley Cup, the World Series, or the NBA
I swear it will work. It's obvious that Democrats believe the
government can do absolutely ANYTHING a pandering politician sets his or
her mind to. If government can prevent sunspots from warming the
planet, make Islamofascists stop hating Jews and Christians by having
big friendly meetings in Geneva, and repeal the economic laws that
cause cycles of growth and recession, then it can damn sure bulldoze
the Eagles to the NFL championship or buy enough officials to secure
the Big Kahuna for the Sixers. Philadelphians won't even care how she does it. They're that sick
of owners who won't spend the money to be best, players who thank the
loyal fans and apologize for the mysterious letdown in the do-or-die
game, again, and the permanent also-ran status of professional teams
who consistently go to the playoffs and come home losers.
The great thing is that it really is too late for Obama to respond.
He's already in Indiana, and the hoosiers he's talking to at the moment
wouldn't like it if he dissed the Colts or Pacers by making a
counter-offer. Besides, he's already blown his chance. He was right
about bitter, just wrong about who. It's not the small town folks in
western PA who are seething and clinging to futile consolations. It's
the whole damn city of Philadelphia and the rotten, useless, hopeless
teams they've clung to for decades without receiving anything in return.
The other great thing is that Philly can't be anywhere near the 115
percent of registered Democrats they normally turn out for an election.
Many of them may only have voted once so far today and can easily hit
the polls a couple more times before the polls close.
Go for it. If Limbaugh's right, you've got nothing to lose.
2:56 pm.A Sudden Mystery. According to Philly.com, this
happened at 2:28 pm:
Barack Obama eating a cheesesteak with
an army of followers at Pat's Steaks in South Philadelphia. Don't know
if he ordered "wit" or with Cheese Whiz, but who cares?
By noshing at Pat's, the Senator from Illinois gracefully sidestepped
the "When Ordering Speak English" controversy at Geno's and perhaps
sent a subtle message to one Mr. Vento.
Is he in two places at once? Or is he, perhaps, following my
suggestion from last Tuesday? Can a skillful doppelganger overcome
this kind of faux-pas?
In Philadelphia, he passed up the
hometown cheesesteak -- gloppy, artery clogging and blue-collar (yum!) -- for
a nibble of Spanish-imported, $100/pound ham.
Or is somebody making up Obama sightings to conceal his inglorious
vamoosing from the fray?
I'm looking into it.
You know, it's probably time everyone stopped giving Hillary
grief about those double-wide hips of hers. She's only packing on the
pounds for the
common people she loves so much.
and cheesesteaks are by no means the ideal diet for a woman who hopes
to be selecting the perfect inaugural ball gown in a few months. Not
for the first time this campaign season, I'm actually feeling sorry for
her. [Hill: Let's cut to the chase. Eagles and Phillies. That'd bring
home all the bacon you need. Sorry. Just a figure of speech.]
According to MSNBC, the PA Attorney General's office has "confirmed no
serious voting issues in Philadelphia." Cool! What a relief. This means
that registered Democrats are having no trouble getting into the
polling locations, voting four or five times, and then voting -- in
accordance with city tradition -- on behalf of all their dead
ancestors, relatives, friends, and imaginary acquaintances, as well as
any and all Pennsylvania-born felons serving time or completed
executions in other states of the union. In a contest as close and
crucial as this one, it's exhilarating to know that no corners are
being cut. The ever-elusive 120 percent of eligible Democrats voting in
Philly is within reach.
The naysayers thought that the retirement of Mayor Street would mangle
the city's electoral efficiency. Thankfully, nothing like that seems to
be in the cards. Here's an illustration of how it works in the wards of
the City of Brotherly Love when all is proceeding smoothly; i.e.,
Just kidding. KIDDING. It's much worse than that.
CNN is all over the urgency of keeping voting within strict
Pennsylvania laws and traditions. Take a moment to listen to the
scrupulously fair voice
of the New South as the most trusted name in news tracks the
procedures and legalities. (The Cafferty bit at the end is just a bonus
for faithful InstaPunk
All right. We've entered a dead zone of sorts. Now the cable news
channels are beginning their recaps of the day's events, prior to the
serious programs that will analyze what we don't know, which are
prefatory to the burst of election coverage that will occur when the
polls close and all the networks will announce the winner and the
oh-so-crucial exit poll results.
It's a good time for wondering. I'm wondering, anyway. Why are
Democrats such classic Freudian fruitcakes? They want, they neeeeeed,
they have to have a victory
in the competition for the presidency of the United States. They've
been so single-mindedly in pursuit of this goal for eight years that
they've even been compelled to root actively for the defeat of the
United States military in a war that crushed a murderous fascistic
dictator and offered an old-Democrat-style vision of building an
enlightened liberal nation on the ruins of a barbaric, woman-hating
cesspool of mass rape, murder, and medieval torture. That's how bad the
Democrats wanted to win the presidency.
They actually possessed a clone (admittedly imperfect but determined
and savvy) of the only successful Democrat president since FDR (that is
RE-elected), and they have chosen -- chosen, mind you -- to trade her in
for a rank neophyte with virtually no experience or accomplishments and
many dubious associations because... why?
WHY? Their record in the presidency over the past half century is an
unmitigated roll of disaster. JFK assassinated and still a figure of
epic controversy because of suspicions that his own sexual
proclivities, drug use, mob ties, and political recklessness might have
implicated him in his own murder. Harry Truman, who flat quit the
presidency because he couldn't solve the riddle of Korea. Lyndon
Johnson, the architect of the Great Society that destroyed the dignity
of African-Americans who had survived slavery and Jim Crow with
families intact only to be reduced to "underclass" by the largesse of
urban renewal, welfare, and affirmative action. And simultaneously put
to the sword an entire nation's trust in the truthfulness of a sworn
Commander-in-Chief. Jimmy Carter, who did absolutely everything wrong,
no matter what he touched, and acting humble as Uriah Heep, never had
the humility to admit a single error. Bill Clinton, who said what
everyone wanted to hear, including an intern, and totally failed to
anticipate the nature of an extreme external threat to the security of
the United States, despite a clear warning at the exact same site where
the shit finally hit the fan.
And after all of this, it is THEY who are aggrieved, cheated, betrayed,
and persecuted. They fume and rage and curse and accuse and suffer
because the American people have shown a persistent reluctance to put
them in charge of the nation's highest office. THEY are the smart ones.
So the question is this. What is so smart about a party that insists on
nominating the worst possible candidate any party has put forward in a
century? Obama is inexperienced compared to a former First Lady??!! His
wife is a sullen, resentful beneficiary of exactly the racial policies
the Democrats have assured us would heal the black-white divide. His
preacher is a prosperous mockery of what it means to be a Christian. His
parents were both avowed Marxists. His own life is a dream come true of
expensive private schooling, Ivy League college, and ultimately privileged
legal education that nevertheless left him feeling embittered about
being born in the only nation where a 34-year-old can write an
autobiography without having accomplished something notable first and
become a millionaire in doing so.
How can the Democrats possibly think we would elect such a, well, punk to be president of the United
States? (Trust us this much. We
know something about punks. And Obama is a punk. But not in a good way.)
We at Instapunk have never been fond of Hillary. But she's a known
quantity. She'll do her best to transform the Democrat Party into the
equivalent of the Brit Labor Party. Given the chance, she would
probably fail at that. That's the American Way. Then she'd retreat to
doing the best she could, given that the ideal is out of reach.
Obama is a totally unknown quantity. Nobody knows who he is. Nobody
knows how far he would go, how deep his hatreds and insecurities are.
He's the most dangerous man alive on the American political scene, and
this is the person the desperate-to-be-elected Democrat Party has
blindly chosen as their man on a white horse. It's insane.
The Democrats are insane. Do you want to know why Bill Clinton has
become a loose cannon, red-faced, explosive, and unpredictable? This is
why. He has shown the Democrats their only possible route to
competing on an equal basis for the presidency. And they'd rather
destroy him and his wife than take his advice.
Of course, Obama might still win. In that case, God help us all.
The cable newsies are starting to drop their hints and show off their
production values. CNN has a big set with a big map that makes Wolf
Blitzer look like a discount undertaker in his baggy little black suit.
MSNBC has Keith Olbermann hairsprayed to a fare-thee-well (but fat as a tick -- Lord!) and Tim
Russert who's having a hair day as bad as Cyndi Lauper always did when
she was a star. Fox News is dropping little nuggets of non-information
from its exit polls: 69 percent of "urban voters" going for Obama, 58
percent of "gun owners" going for Hillary. Late deciders going for
Hillary. College-educated going for Obama (Geez. Isn't that a sorry commentary?) White for
Hillary. Black for Obama. Color us astonished.
Lou Dobbs is being a disingenuous ass, pretending to be objective and
sympathetic to both candidates. Olbermann is trying not
to be an ass. Since somebody might actually be watching this time. Russert looks
as off-kilter as his hair; he doesn't seem to know who he should be for
or how to slant his coverage. Blitzer still -- still -- thinks he really is an
objective, impartial journalist. Right now he's talking about "possible
voter irregularities." In Philadelphia??!! Of course, the authorities
will sort it out. It's not like there are any Republicans around
to make it a case of impeachable treason against the unexpressed will
of illiterate Americans. Or whatever.
They're just twiddling their thumbs. Come 8 o'clock, they'll all leap
like sharks into their one true mission in life, telling us what we're
supposed to think about what maybe happened in Pennsylvania.
Now Bill Schneider is weighing in. He's quite ebullient. And Jeffrey Toobin is there, sounding very chirpy. Maybe Obama is
doing better in the exit polls than anyone is letting on. Wouldn't that be just fucking GREAT?
I'll be back at you when the real results start falling through the
media Pachinko machine.
8:18 pm.Exit poll overload. Race itself too
close to call. The news networks are all covering their asses
now because they don't trust their own exit polls, which historically
have over-favored Obama and under-favored Hillary. They think it's
racism. It's never occurred to them that all the media-driven polls
might reflect resentment of media rather than black people. None of the
trends is surprising, and none of the breakdowns can be fitted into a
sum that makes mathematical sense in terms of total votes. They're
going to make us wait for actual vote counts. What an odd idea.
Obama is winning the affluent, black (92 percent), young, highly
educated, and deeply crazed voters. Hillary is winning the white vote
(men and women both), seniors, union members, and under 50K a year in
income voters. Maybe Obama has close to 50 percent of Democrats based on these demographics, but which set of demographics would you rather have on your side in a general election? I'm just saying.
Interestingly, it turns out that the party which so despises the
electoral college uses exactly the same kind of vote apportionment in
its delegate assignments. Winning in Philadelphia, which aways goes
Democratic in general elections, earns far more delegates
proportionally than winning anywhere else in the state. Political
democracy, I guess, is as relative a term to Democrats as morality,
patriotism, and supporting the troops. They mean by these terms exactly
what they choose to mean, given what is most convenient at the moment.
Brit Hume has just conceded that exit polls suggest Hillary is winning
by 6 percent, although he also conceded he doesn't trust the exit polls
(as I've inferred above.)
It's going to go on like this for a while. When real vote counts begin
to add up, I'll post again.
If it matters.
Which maybe it doesn't. It's just been reported that a single mother in
Indiana saw a vision of Obama in a slice of buttered toast. Half of
South Bend is lined up at her door waiting to bear witness.
Hell, what do votes matter when you're as close to divine as Democrats
Fox News has just projected Hillary the winner. Based on exit polls.
That they don't trust. Cool. I'll still be back later.
Hillary is now leading 56 - 46 with 48 percent of the vote counted, but
85 percent of the Philly vote
counted. Which means her winning margin could still climb to 10 percent
or better. The pundits on the news channels have all had tremendously
intelligent things to say about what it all means. Here are a few
I doubt if I can improve on those. It's been more than fourteen hours
now since I started this damn fool project. I know that both candidates
will have some blah blahs of their own to add later on, but I'm done.
And so to bed.
Philadelphia Flyers just beat the Washington Capitols in the seventh
game of their playoff series, in overtime, after inexplicably failing
to play hockey for most of the three regulation periods. Did Hillary
make the deal we suggested after all? Under the table? That would be so like the Clintons, wouldn't it?
Probably nothing to it. I'm just saying. Flyers over the Capitols. The Washington Capitols.
Okay. Too keyed up to sleep right away. If you're having the
same problem, here's an excellent edition of the always brilliant Charlie Rose Show on
a topic that has nothing whatever to do with Hillary-Obama (h/t BlueSuedeViews).