Instapun*** Archive Listing

Archive Listing
September 16, 2009 - September 9, 2009

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Who will be watching
the watchdogs? Guess.

"The War on Watchdogs"

H/T TO THE GREEN ROOM. Just an intro to an article everyone should read at the American Spectator. A key excerpt::

IN JUNE, THE HOUSE PASSED the Improved Financial and Commodity Markets Oversight and Accountability Act, which would give the president authority to dismiss and replace inspectors general at five financial regulatory agencies. . . . The bill was sponsored by Rep. John Larson (D-CT), who argued that making these IGs presidential appointees would make them more “independent” and “ensure better performance from government agencies.” The IGs themselves strongly disagreed, testifying in opposition to the bill. . . . The Larson bill was also criticized by Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project on Government Oversight, which tracks government watchdogs. “I think you can be more independent reporting to a bipartisan board than being at the mercy of the president’s good graces,” Brian told the Washington Post.

Quis custodes custodiet? The Custodis-in-Chief apparently.

Who Knew?

What's that on his lapel?

LATE'S COMING EARLIER. One of our favorite new sites is Big Hollywood, which features all kinds of subversive content -- show biz conservative bloggers, movie reviews that dare to acknowledge political agendas, and retro stuff like the best TCM (and other) old Hollywood pictures to watch this week. It's the brainchild of new media lion Andrew Breitbart, who's behind the oh-so-uncomfortable-for-lefties ACORN videos that have been surfacing for the last week or so. Today, though, we were genuinely surprised to find an acerbic defense of Jay Leno and his new show, which to be honest, we didn't watch and probably won't.  Nothing against Leno per se; it's just that talk-variety shows of this sort have some of the numbest, dullest, least spontaneous interviews one could ever imagine, and it's gotten truly depressing to watch actors one sort of likes demonstrating what shallow, lunatic boors they are in person.

Nevertheless. This piece about Leno includes a wholly earned takedown of David Letterman and a refreshing "critique the critics" (especially NPR) component that makes it irresistible. A sample:

Jay Leno scored 18 million viewers yesterday. Letterman draws around 4 million on a good night. If you like your television personalities too cool for school that’s got to be troubling – if you prefer those with a hold on the popular culture five nights a week not parade around with a United States flag (unless it’s on fire), today you’ve got to be a little frustrated. First ACORN, now this... What’s happening to my Amerika?!?!

Even worse, those five hours Jay’s eating up could’ve otherwise been used to trash Christians and Republicans on “Law & Order: God We Love Obama.”

You have to wonder if it will ever happen… If the coastal critics and their ilk will ever figure out that today they are the establishment … they are The Man … and that the only real accomplishment of the cruel little needy Letterman who bounces at the end of their string is tarnishing a long history of sell outs.

We knew Leno had his good points. He loves cars and motorcycles. He seems to have an extraordinary work ethic. Yeah, he's a liberal, but aren't they all? Maybe not a CRAZY liberal. Right now we're pleased that he has the guts to wear that little pin on national TV while working for NBC.

Maybe he deserves a look? Dunno. Up to you.


Maybe the artist thinks this is flattering. I don't.
He looks like the kind of growth that sends you
running in headlong panic to your dermatologist.

THAT FIXED & SICKENING GRIN. Has there ever been a president of the United States who was actually evil? I know the reflexive answer is Nixon, the currently popular answer George W. Bush, and the up-to-the-moment conservative answer Barack Obama. But I believe the only correct answer thus far is Jimmy Carter. Obama still has an opportunity to rise above error, arrogance, ideology, prejudice, and ignorance to become president of more than his blindly adoring worshippers. Carter, on the other hand, has repeatedly proven himself a kind of slowly devouring cancer of the soul, which is a thing he has come to resemble even physically. A sort of walking, talking melanoma. Hats off to Ed Morrissey for taking this stand:

If Jimmy Carter believes that the “overwhelming” portion of criticism towards Barack Obama is due to racism, does he also believe that the overwhelming portion of criticism towards Israel is anti-Semitic?  Wouldn’t that apply to a man who hangs out with people who target Israeli citizens for terrorist attacks?  After all, Hamas regularly issues anti-Semitic harangues and smears, and yet Carter has no problem cozying up to them and claiming that their criticism of Israel is legitimate.

From now on, using Carter’s own logic, we should note each of his remarks on the Middle East by saying they come from “Jimmy Carter, known anti-Semite.”  Two can play this game.

Points, too, to Mark Steyn (and his demurrer) for a single perfect bullseye:

Quote of the day so far comes from Mark Steyn on Bill Bennett's radio show this morning: "dissent is the highest form of racism."

And, in line with our usual modesty, a reminder that we have been onto this vicious little creep for a long long time.

[And a graphic flashback because we just couldn't resist. It seems so, well, appropriate.


Truthfully, Charles Laughton looks sweeter...]

Brizoni, where are you? Do we have to wait for him to, uh, you know, before you weigh in with the Teddy Kennedy treatment?

I hope not. I really do.

Dexter Season 3

BACK IN THE DAY. We here at Instapunk have taken some criticism in the past for giving a good review and then changing our minds later (scroll) without alerting the IP readership. This post is therefore an update in re the third season of the Showtime series Dexter. The first review elicited the following from Thomas Jackson, an upright member of the site's commenting community:

I realize television has become a race to see who can get to the bottom of the cesspool quickest. Most shows lack wit, plot, or anything worthy of the term entertainment, substituting the attractions that the brain-dead find interesting. These include filth, gore, sex, and anything you were taught was unacceptable behavior in kindergarten.

I would note the same people who condemn shows that do not feature these attractions as boring are the same people who react most violently against any production code, action against Janet Jackson and her ilk, or allowing consumers to have a selection of channels on cable rather than... the gerbil dressed in lederhosen humping Janet Jackson...

The reason for this is clear; while most consumers will take some channels they have little interest in, most[ly] niche channels. Bravo had to change when they [went] all queer... attracted Barney Frank and no one else. But we still get it rammed down our throats.

Dexter being on showtime means we are spared having to see it unless, like other cable channels, we get a schedule of one horrific program rebroadcast forever.

Original programming need not be torn from the mouth of the Jerry Springer show. Most of these will pass away unmourned and unnoticed while the great programs go on forever.

Talent used to mean something in television. Now sensationalism matters. And we are poorer for it.

Yeah. Okay. And all that. Probably right. We stand rebuked by those who know without having been tempted. Hats off to your virtue, Thomas, and nobody feels worse than I do about having to concede that Season 3 is absolutely FANTASTIC. Mrs. CP and I just finished the seventh episode and we immediately agreed that it may have been the best single series television episode we'd ever seen. A cold-blooded serial killer asked to perform a mercy killing. Something about life and love and the incredible complexities of moral responsibility. Something unexpected. Something very moving in a totally antiseptic and artificially rational way that comes down, as these things do -- for you and me and the children who will have this power over us one day -- to a coldly delivered soul instinct, but this time presented to us inside out. Everything we thought Dexter was about it is about. There's an easy epithet here that would go a long way toward rebutting the Thomas Jackson type dismissals, but it won't be uttered here. Easy answers are rarely easy in the learning of them.

The most seriously philosophical and, yes, ultimately religious, series ever made. And the most discomfiting. The fact that Michael C. Hall hasn't won an Emmy as the ethical but admittedly evil Nemesis we only hope could one day, as a Miami forensic technician, deal (uh, you know) with David Caruso on CSI Miami is a scandal.

A glimpse:

Rent Season 3 at the earliest possible opportunity. You won't regret it. Even Jimmy Smits is finally acting...

The real HotAir is cold.

CHILBLAINS. Once again, from the Green Room Ghetto at HotAir, we bring you Doctor Zero:

The two-party system probably isn’t going anywhere, although one of the parties could radically change in character, or give birth to a truly viable third party, which eventually devours it. There is too much power to be gained from unity of purpose, and for all the factional squabbling and single-issue jousting matches, the division between the parties has become increasingly clear… at least to everyone except the more clueless Republican politicians. The past nine months have fast-forwarded us to a point we would otherwise have reached in ten or twenty years, when the old game of saddling free-market taxpayers with the bill for socialist programs could no longer be played. Before we can move any further to the Left, the essential character of our nation must be forever changed. In a process that began with TARP bailouts and auto-company takeovers, and is meant to continue through the destruction of the health insurance industry, those markets will no longer be “free” in even a rhetorical sense. To grow any larger, the government requires serfs, not sugar daddies.

The choice now is between liberty and tyranny. It always was, but like a used car, tyranny can be made to sound like an attractive purchase: loaded with good intentions, and financed with no money down and low, low payments. That deal is no longer on the table, and never will be again. The restlessness of the Blue Dog Democrats is the queasiness of people who aren’t sure they stand on the right side of the battle lines, when the morning fog melts away and lances are lowered.

uh, shouldn't they promote him to the main page, given that he writes and thinks better than everyone else associated with the site?

Cute thing about "The Green Room." They don't even tell you who wrote what. Like, who cares, huh? It wouldn't do if he upstaged the scrupulous moderate, the shallow beta-male cynical atheist, or the airbrushed media superstar of the whole shebang, would it?

Only one point we're making here. Go to HotAir every day, look at the right hand column, scrolling down till you find the un-highlighted Green Room section, and click on everything till you find Doctor Zero.

If he's reading or watching, or if you know how to reach him, he should know that he has fans who admire and seek out what he has to say. We'd love to talk to him and exchange views. We're even prepared to pretend that HotAir isn't mostly hot air. Because his cold air illuminates.

Work on it.

Fun Stuff.

SAID IT ALREADY. Enjoy. (Sorry about the lack of centering. Jon Stewart seems to hew relentlessly to the left, even when it comes to HTML code. Sorry.)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The MSM are now actually sawing
at their own throats with the knife
they put there in the '08 campaign.

Howard Kurtz, Media Bore, and Maureen Dowd, Media Whore.
Or is it really the other way around? Dunno.
Either way works.

DOWD IS A STUD. I've never understood why so many conservatives keep giving Howard Kurtz the benefit of the doubt, as if he's actually thoughtful, fair, and decent. I suppose he's good at posing as all these things, but that's about it. His latest columns are proof positive of what I say, but before I dig into the manure pile, I have to remind those who might stumble in here by accident that this website has long anticipated the bind the mainstream media now find themselves in. Back in July 2008, InstaPunk tried to give them some friendly advice:

Continue being the same adoring cheerleaders you've been so far -- through the inevitable crises and missteps and blunders and failures -- and the already tottering structure of the MSM will collapse in cataclysmic ruin. You will bore your dwindling audience absolutely to death, and they will begin seeking honest news reporting elsewhere. (As they have been, btw, for some time now; how's NYT stock doing these days, kemo sabe?)

The nature of your bet thus far is idiotic -- that Obama really is the absolute answer to everyone's prayers you so want him to be. He isn't. He's a flesh-and-blood man who will stumble and err and make some truly awful decisions. When that happens, your extravagantly uncritical support for his rise to power will make you accountable to many Americans before you cover the first act of his administration. And when he does take office, the fact that you have let him rewrite all the rules of what is and is not fair coverage in political reporting will do you in no matter what course you choose. Criticize him and be branded with some of the worst labels available in these United States. (The New Yorker is anti-muslim? Anyone? Please.) Suck up to him and go rapidly out of business -- not to mention lose all the power you have so jealously acquired and used so self-righteously in the last hundred years.

Take your pick.

Well, they have taken their pick of the options available, and in the words of the guardian of the grail, they "chose poorly."

Sorry. Couldn't resist the little plastic stop-motion figures. Kind of how I think of the NYT and WAPO folks anymore... You plumb the various degradations of the metaphor; I'm busy.

Now the Pew organization, hardly a bastion of conservative propaganda, informs us that nine months (?!) into the Obama administration, MSM coverage of the liberal Christ child's administration has resulted in, well, disaster:

September 13, 2009
Press Accuracy Rating Hits Two Decade Low
Public Evaluations of the News Media: 1985-2009

Similarly, only about a quarter (26%) now say that news organizations are careful that their reporting is not politically biased, compared with 60% who say news organizations are politically biased. And the percentages saying that news organizations are independent of powerful people and organizations (20%) or are willing to admit their mistakes (21%) now also match all-time lows.

Republicans continue to be highly critical of the news media in nearly all respects. However, much of the growth in negative attitudes toward the news media over the last two years is driven by increasingly unfavorable evaluations by Democrats. On several measures, Democratic criticism of the news media has grown by double-digits since 2007. Today, most Democrats (59%) say that the reports of news organizations are often inaccurate; just 43% said this two years ago. Democrats are also now more likely than they were in 2007 to identify favoritism in the media: Two-thirds (67%) say the press tends to favor one side rather than to treat all sides fairly, up from 54%. And while just a third of Democrats (33%) say news organizations are “too critical of America,” that reflects a 10-point increase since 2007. [boldface added]

Which brings us all the way up to the past couple weeks, which I submit are among the worst in the tawdry history of the mainstream media in the last half century. The self-promoting "Paper of Record" failed to cover the Van Jones controversy until after he'd resigned. MSNBC chose to honor 9/11 by focusing on the muslim victims of the attack by fanatics of their religion on Americans. The 9-12 protests in Washington were too small to merit serious coverage by the MSM. You know, not enough people in attendance to displace real stories: [scroll for Sunday, 9/13. Tippy-Top Story -- "Americans easily win third straight Walker Cup." Cool.]

Or something like that. And the ACORN scandal doesn't boast nearly enough sex, corruption, and federal tie-ins to merit any kind of in-depth coverage, excepting the possibility that the City of Baltimore might prosecute the undercover journalists involved.

And so to bed. (For all you flyover dittoheads, that's a reference to the diaries of Samuel Pepys. Look it up lunkheads.) Except maybe not quite to bed yet. There's still the nagging matter of how the MSM explains to itself the brand new mission of committing journalism by not covering stories they don't approve of. That's where Howard Kurtz comes in. His job, officially, is to comment on media stuff for the junior paper of record, the Washington Post.

We have to admit, he's dutiful. He dealt with the Van Jones omission on Monday and then with the 9-12 protests on Tuesday. Maybe his unblinking, nose-to-the-grindstone shamelessness is the source of the respect he's accorded for no other reason.

On Van Jones, his position was that, uh, maybe the press should have covered the controversy. But only after he had spent the first half of his two page entry blasting the temerity of a nobody called Glenn Beck:

It has become a familiar chain reaction: Talk-show hosts whip up a noisy controversy, which hits higher decibels as it spreads to the establishment media, which costs some unfortunate soul his job.

But now the middleman -- the journalistic gatekeepers of yore -- may no longer be necessary.

By the time White House environmental adviser Van Jones resigned over Labor Day weekend, the New York Times had not run a single story. Neither had USA Today, which also didn't cover the resignation. The Washington Post had done one piece, on the day before he quit. The Los Angeles Times had carried a short article the previous week questioning Glenn Beck's assault on the White House aide. There had been nothing on the network newscasts.

"Where is the press on this?" Beck asked in late August during one of several rants against Jones. But it turned out the Fox News host didn't need the big news organizations to claim his scalp.

Beck's rhetoric may have been over the top as he denounced Jones as a "black nationalist" and "avowed communist" (Jones embraced communism in the 1990s but said he later changed his views). Yet Beck also trumpeted information that forced Jones to issue two public apologies within days. The first was for calling Republicans "a--holes" in a February speech, video of which was posted online by Beck backers. The second, more serious offense was that he had signed a 2004 petition charging "that people within the current administration may indeed have allowed 9/11 to happen, perhaps as a pretext to war." Jones said he didn't agree with that view, but his signature was on the "truther" document.

Although he began firing at his target earlier, Beck intensified his assault after a group co-founded by Jones, Color of Change, launched a boycott campaign that has led dozens of advertisers to withdraw from his television show -- a detail that Beck neglected to tell viewers.

As a proponent of creating "green" jobs, Jones was a respected figure within the environmental movement. But he was sufficiently obscure as a special adviser to the White House Council on Environmental Quality that major news organizations basically ignored him. Only The Post ran a profile, in December, and a story last month on his government work... [boldface added}

And blah, blah, blah. That Beck. What a creep. That Van Jones. What a visionary. Note the boldfaced paragraph. I just loved the phrase, "a detail that Beck neglected to tell viewers." So the proper journalistic response would have been to, uh, what? Quit pursuing the story in light of the fact that the target was retaliating undercover? Or prejudice the bare facts by preaching to the audience about a suspicion that an unprovable retaliation might be underway? Yet the closing thought (always put the most important element, the one you really want them to remember, at the end of the sentence, junior journalists!) is an imputation of wrongdoing by Glenn Beck.

But this piece was just a warmup for the real exercise in journalistic integrity published today. By Howard Kurtz. The conscience of The Washington Post (er, the American League Champion of newspapers for you dimwit Middle Americans...) In this multi-page gem, Howie tackles the question of the 9-12 demonstrations his newspaper could hardly bear to report on. (WAPO actually ran an AP account in its pages rather than its own; the in-house DC staff were too busy with, like, the Walker Cup.) But forget the facts. What really matters is what it all meant. And about that we can do no better than consult the ultimate experts on America, the elite pseudo-intellectuals who reference each other's finest insights about what the Morlocks outside the Beltway are up to today:

A Black-and-White Question
By Howard Kurtz

Is it racial?

Are the protesters, tea-partiers, birthers, deathers, doomsayers and hecklers motivated, at least in part, by a distinct discomfort with the country's first black president?

Or is that a smear against disgruntled Americans who have every right to express their dissent?

There is no definitive answer, of course, since we are talking about millions of people, from Joe Wilson, the disrespectful congressman who's now raised $700,000 for his "you lie" outburst, to the woman who told Arlen Specter that Obama is trying to transform the US of A "into Russia, into a socialist country."

But I began to suspect that race was a factor for at least some critics when I heard them shouting about "the Constitution" and "taking our country back." Maybe Obama's health-care plan is an awful idea and his budget is way too big, but how exactly is any of this unconstitutional? Clearly, for some folks, there's a deeper rage at the man occupying the White House.

I do think we all need to be careful about tarring the critics with a broad brush. Dissent is an essential element of America's DNA. Civil rights protesters transformed the country. Protesters helped turn the country against the wars in Vietnam and Iraq. The majority of those digging in against Obama's policies sincerely believe that he is moving the country in the wrong direction.

Still, there is an ugly undercurrent out there. Yes, some on the right tried to delegitimize Bill Clinton as well -- remember the garbage linking him to drug trafficking and murder? -- but this is dark and personal in a much more unsettling way. What other president -- with a Hawaii birth certificate, no less -- would be subjected to conspiratorial doubts about whether he was born in this country?

There was a hopeful moment after Obama's election when the country -- even many of those who had voted against him -- seemed proud of itself for having broken a racial barrier. Maybe we were all being naive. Maybe prejudice is not so easily drained from the swamp.

The subject got a major boost in visibility from Maureen Dowd, who began with the shout-out from the South Carolina congressman who was a member of Sons of Confederate Veterans:

"Fair or not, what I heard was an unspoken word in the air: You lie, boy!"


"I've been loath to admit that the shrieking lunacy of the summer -- the frantic efforts to paint our first black president as the Other, a foreigner, socialist, fascist, Marxist, racist, Commie, Nazi; a cad who would snuff old people; a snake who would indoctrinate kids -- had much to do with race. . . .

"But Wilson's shocking disrespect for the office of the president -- no Democrat ever shouted 'liar' at W. when he was hawking a fake case for war in Iraq -- convinced me: Some people just can't believe a black man is president and will never accept it. . .

"For two centuries, the South has feared a takeover by blacks or the feds. In Obama, they have both."

Ouch indeed. [Excuse me. I've just had a tweet from TruePunk. He asks me to inform you that he's got a post on the way that will make you all cheer after you're done weeping over this one. Asshole.]

Anyway. How perfect does it get? An inside-the-beltway clown-journalist actually believes that citing an inside-the-beltway clown-skagop-ed writer represents some kind of verification of his own off-the-top-of-the-head assumption.

Let's all take a Brizoni moment. Throbbing, pulsating, can't-think-a-thought-for-all-the-thoughtlike-insanities-that-are-flashing-through-my-head-just-now EXPLOSIONS of furious contempt I'm feeling...]

Now. Deep breath. Start over. Three simple points I want to make here. Just three.

One. (another deep breath)

Only people who don't really care about the Constitution could see mentioning it as a code word for racism in the current environment. This administration has assumed authority in areas never before envisioned by a presidential administration. The right of the executive to fire private sector CEOs. The right of the executive to set pay for anyone in the private sector. The right of the executive to take over private sector corporations. The right of the executive to bypass congressional advice and consent  in order to name "czars" with responsibilities overlapping and sometimes displacing cabinet responsibilities with no oversight other than the president of the United States. The right of the executive to create out of thin air a "right to health care" and to require uninsured private citizens to pay for health insurance they don't want. There isn't one word in the Constitution authorizing any of this. So people who start to feel the Constitution is being shoved to the side in favor of executive authoritarianism are therefore racist? Huh? WTF? The people who find this sinister would be in the streets today if the president overseeing it were a pink aaardvark.


ALL the talk about race that has occurred since this administration took office has come from the Obama administration itself. It's really nothing more than the permanent "get out of jail free" card we warned about here almost a year ago. Maybe the MSM is afraid to criticize the administration because they accepted rules they shouldn't have in their orgasmic rush to elect a black president, but the American people don't care what color the president is. They want a president who regards himself as president of all Americans, not just the politically correct ones. Last week's healthcare speech by President Obama is easily the nastiest, most partisan and divisive address ever delivered by a president to a joint session of congress. (Look it up, you beltway intellectuals.) It was the moment when the president made it indisputably clear that he is the president of those who agree with him and no one else.

[btw, Dowdy one (and the Howie one), the crack about adding "boy" to someone's statement is one of the oldest and lamest jokes in the world. Let's see. Try adding "bitch" to everything ever said by anyone to Hillary. "Fat, drunken murderer" to everything ever uttered to Teddy Kennedy. "MISTER Snopes" to everything said to Harry Reid. "Plastic Medusa" to every retort to the wit and wisdom of Nancy Pelosi. One difference, I guess. Doing it to a congressman from South Carolina seems to smack of racial and geographical profiling. Doesn't it? You bet your tight (non-homophobic) liberal asses it does...]


The behavior of the Obama administration in the face of protest from ordinary Americans who have never before been known to take to the streets in defense of their liberties against the federal government is despicable. The behavior of the press, however, is not only despicable but almost incomprehensibly suicidal. In the age of the Internet, NOT covering stories you don't like is more than professional malpractice. It's fucking lunacy.


What part of this fact of life do you not get? And in case you haven't figured out the corollary either, allow me to point out that inside-the-beltway prejudices are easily recognized in Kansas, Idaho, and New Jersey as pretentious snobbery. You do not get to tell us what's important and what our concerns imply about who we are. We get to do that.

Yet the patronizing, sanctimonious apologists for a dead autocracy continue to roll out their rationalizations, excuses, judgments, and cocktail-party wisdom to the world at large as if  -- AS IF -- in some sense they still speak for us. They don't.



The opposition to Obama is not racial. It's MSM support for Obama that's racial. The man is trying to kill the United States. The importance of the Washington protests is not whether they numbered 70,000 or 700,000. It's that people who have never protested in the streets before in their lives -- unlike the generation of lefties who have lived in the streets without ever earning a dime -- are showing up there now. That's the biggest story in a hundred years. These people, the ones who are protesting now, didn't even show up to oppose the ugly treason of the Vietnam War protests. Why are they on the streets now?

The MSM can't see a story in that other than racism? No. They can't. Which is the ultimate bind. Because they're going to die if they continue to interpret journalism as not covering stories that make Obama look bad. And the more they beat the racism drum, the more impossible they'll find it to criticize him when they finally feel thermselves slipping under the waves for the third and final (drowning) time. Hah. Really. That's the first laugh. The last laugh you'll hear will sound like something from the bottom of a well. But, well, that's where you'll be when you hear it.

Your whole journalistic business enterprise is fucking done. Guaranteed.

And Howard Kurtz? I denounce you as an unprincipled whore. (um, were you ever upset about this? Naaaah.) Too bad you can't make up the income differential by donning a pair of red spiked heels and peddling your saggy ass in Georgetown. No one would want it.

Maureen? You go, girl. One word of advice: Mandingo.

P.S. If anyone liked the poster in the top graphic, here is the full-scale version:

Yeah, I kind of like it, too.

UPDATE. An outstanding column today by Victor Davis Hanson called The Rise of the Uncouth. He fearlessly connects in print some outlier dots we've been connecting quietly in our heads. A flavorful morsel:

[T]wo tropes appeared after January 20th of this year:

One—cannot we all get along? We deplore this resort to barbarism and crudity.

Two—if you dare sound off like we just did, then you are now a racist.

Not So Fast

The problem is that the public is not really stupid and has a long memory. It hates hypocrisy as much as it does crudity. Part of Obama’s decline is precisely because of this sudden disingenuousness in which one rises to the top on hardball, Chicago politics and playing identity politics (remember Rev. Wright, Ayers, “typical white people”, clingers, etc.), and then of course wants an end to the crudity (like hoping the music stops only when you have grabbed that last chair).

Or so Obama said that he wanted a sort of end to the acrimony. But once he was elected, we got Eric Holder slurring the nation, the President slurring the police, the environmental jobs czar slurring almost everyone, and a host of satellites like Charles Rangel and Diane Watson leveling charges of racism.

So where do go from here?

The standards of civility, torn down during the 1960s, were obliterated completely after 9/11 (hours after, actually, when Michael Moore (Jimmy Carter’s hero) wished a red-state had been hit instead). We have no more “Wise Men” in Washington and New York, but rather graying children of the Sixties, aging badly. A large segment of the left—from Code Pink and to Acorn and the unions—believe that they really can smear and defame and then retreat to mythical standards of decency when they are now on the receiving end.

You should read it all, obviously.

A Simple Solution

LOCOPUNK IS SUCH A DOWNER You all get so wrought up. Here's the simplest answer to what's ailing the country. Let's make Washington, DC, a separate nation. Or to put it less nicely, let's kick them out of the damn country. Think about it. Pretty perfect, huh? They can keep their congress, their bureaucrats, their experts, their taxes, their unions, their trial lawyers, their social programs, their Barney Franks, their Patrick Leahys, their Nancy Pelosis, their Harry Reids, their czars, their sullen First Lady, and their Narcisssist-in-Chief. Just imagine what a paradise on earth they can have for themselves...

What do we get? Everything else. We get to keep the Constitution of the United States. All the job-creating businesses, the greatest military in the history of life on earth, all the doctors and hospitals, all the brilliant scientists, engineers, and technologists. All the cities, towns, and fields where real work is done and real life is lived day after day. All the churches, skyscrapers, bridges, farms, siloes, and winding roads and turnpikes. All the oil, coal, and natural gas. All the factories, all the stores, all the  homes and schools where people make their lives. All the other resources, too, from trees to mountains rich in minerals and natural beauty. Of course, we'll have to have a new capital, which, in my opinion, should be located -- like all the state capitals -- in the center of the sovereign domain. Looks like somewhere in Kansas. Okay with you? Okay with me. Actually, it seems like in the day and age of terror a centrally located capital might be, you know, safer.

There will be some transition issues. We'll need to elect an all new House of Representatives and Senate. We'll need a new Supreme Court, which means, obviously, we'll need a new President to make some nominations.

Anybody feel that's beyond our poor yokel power to accomplish? Didn't think so.

If you think it's a good idea, pass it on. Let's go viral. And please let me know where exactly in Kansas the new capital will be located. I'd like to invest in some real estate. Sorry. Old capitalist instincts.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Not Beating a Dead Horse

Hero Worship is Kewl.

VICK IS, UH, REFORMED. I was going to let this one go. I really was. Even though Mrs. CP abruptly announced to me that she could no longer support Ohio State football even if it was one of the abiding sentimental legacies of my late mother. I understood her:

In Saturday’s game against Navy, [Ohio State quarterback] Terrelle Pryor put the word “Vick” on his eye black (”Mika” is his sister’s nickname).  As far as I know, he still had it on in the second half.  He had a very questionable quote after the game, saying “Not everybody’s the perfect person in the world.  I mean everyone kills people, murders people, steals from you, steals from me, whatever.  I think that people need a second chance, and I’ve always looked up to Mike Vick, and I always will.”

She was further upset by early reporting that OSU Coach Jim Tressel's first response was evasive and even flippant. I looked up the record and Tressel seemed more protective and guarded than casual:

Reporter: He's a kid, but he had to perhaps expect that this could be controversial.

Tressel: I think that's probably -- you would think, but on the other hand, Terrelle's of the opinion that, you know what, I'm not any big deal, I haven't done anything, and like anything else, whether it was a coverage read or a defensive guy not playing a gap or whatever, these are all moments that we can learn from, but again, I guess I would refer back to the fact that you have -- you would have to know him the way I know him to understand that he didn't mean to hurt anyone's feelings, to be insensitive to something that someone feels strongly about, that's just not him.

If there's ever anyone that feels bad about something or downtrodden about something, he's the first one there with his arms around them, that's just the way he is. So as they say, it is what it is and you learn from what you learn from and it's -- to go back to your original question, I don't know the answer to that because if someone came in and wanted to put "Mom" on their eye patch or their wrist, I've got a tough time questioning that.

And so that's part of life and I'm sure Terrelle -- he's one of those guys that he feels terrible about anything that's not just right. And I know he doesn't feel good that that disappointed someone. And his intention would never be to make anyone disappointed about something and that's just his nature and we all sometimes miss the mark, but as I say, teachable, learnable moment.

Well, "Mom" and "Mika Vick" aren't exactly the same kind of entry on an eyepatch, but what a coach says in public and what he says to his team in private can be two different things, and I also don't believe that Terrrelle Pryor is actually endorsing killing people or killing dogs. He took plenty of heat for what he said in Columbus, and he's taking plenty of heat for it from Mrs. CP. Michael Vick is nobody to look up to. Who would hide this fact from a dumb, naive kid? But it's easy enough to give the kid a second chance, at least until he smashes his girlfriend's face or beats his dog to death.

As I said. I was going to let it go. Until I read Michael Wilbon's column. Which rubbed me the wrong way. A lot. Here it is:

The folks in the Buckeye State like it when Terrelle Pryor is throwing or running for touchdowns, when he's playing quarterback for them. But if he feels something they don't feel, if he keeps his own opinions and not theirs, specifically on the subject of Michael Vick, they don't like the 20-year-old college sophomore so much. Some of them dislike Pryor intensely because he likes Vick and had the nerve to say so publicly by putting "Vick" on an eye-black strip during Saturday's game. You can read the columns, the Buckeye message boards and see how many think he's dumb, or stupid, or a disgrace to his team and his school.

This is the world we live in, where it's not enough to have your own feelings; you have to pound everybody else until they believe exactly what you do. It's too bad Pryor isn't eloquent enough to express himself any better than he did following Saturday's game, when he said in defense of supporting Vick, "Not everybody is the perfect person in the world. Everyone does ... kills people, murders people, steals from you, steals from me. I just feel that people need to give him a chance."

It's an almost incoherent defense, really, the suggestion that "everybody murders or steals." Then again, we're talking about a college sophomore who, not surprisingly, plays football better than he speaks. I deal with enough college students, not all of them athletes, who increasingly are numbingly inarticulate, which isn't the same thing as being stupid. While Pryor ought to be able to express himself with a little more clarity, he also ought to be able to like or dislike pretty much whomever he wants without having outrage directed his way.

When Pryor walks onto a football field or into a college classroom, where disagreement was encouraged once upon a time, and declares how much he likes Vick, groupthink (or more precisely, nothink) kicks in. Fans have taken the partisan politics of Washington to other areas and overrun the internet with pitchforks. Heaven forbid a player or coach expresses an opinion or anything that anyone anywhere disagrees with. If Pryor weren't so talented, well, they might even call for him to be benched this week against Southern California.

What Pryor said that isn't offensive, to me anyway, is "I always looked up to Mike Vick and I always will because I still think he is one of the best quarterbacks." People want to pass a law now making it illegal to say anything that isn't hateful about Michael Vick? Last I checked, he served nearly two years in prison for his crimes. Move on.

The level of intolerance that people so boldly express now is stunning and even worse, quietly accepted. Same thing was evident in Kentucky where John Calipari sent a team jersey to President Obama (which he filmed for his Facebook page) and came under such heat for it that the post had to be deleted. Don't think for a minute that race under the guise of conservatism has nothing to do with this.

I've never been a Mike Vick fan, particularly, and thought he deserved jail time for his heinous crimes. But the sanctimonious criticism directed at anybody who suggests that Vick should have a second chance or that people should simply let him be, has become ugly. And if young Pryor is bold enough to take the heat for simply speaking his mind, even if the sentiment is unpopular, some of us ought to be bold enough to stand with him. [boldface added]

Michael Wilbon should know better than to conflate morality with "feelings." Before he went to Northwestern University's School of Journalism, Wilbon attended St. Ignatius Prep, where, presumably, he gained an education in Christian moral doctrine. His insistence on further confusing moral outrage with political and racial prejudice is downright repellent. There's a whole catalogue of hypocrisies he's committed here, and I am going to call him on them.

Things Wilbon is dissimulating about, to the detriment of those he pretends to care about:

1. Professional athletes have to care what people think of them. Like all entertainers. If he cares about Terrelle Pryor, he should make it clear that making enemies in the audience is a very bad idea, economically and professionally.

2. "It's too bad Pryor isn't eloquent enough to express himself any better than he did following Saturday's game." Too bad? How about tragic, pitiful, fatal? Yes, people are inclined to be forgiving about the missteps of youth, but we're not exactly innocent about the implications of what young people say anymore. Hell, the whole popular culture is designed to rub old noses in the grime of youthful relativism, isn't it? You can expect all you want that post-adolescent parents and grandparents will accept whatever whims young idiots have latched onto for the moment, but you cannot demand that we accept what we regard as unacceptable because the faces who spit in ours are young, unmarked, and education free. In case Wilbon can't see it, let me make it clear for him. People are entirely free to write off Terrelle Pryor as a person of no interest without even trying to "pound everybody else until they believe exactly what you do."

3. "I deal with enough college students, not all of them athletes, who increasingly are numbingly inarticulate, which isn't the same thing as being stupid."  Excuse me? Not the same thing? Ever heard the phrase "distinction without a difference"? Is that what they taught you at St. Ignatius and Northwestern? That having a moral conviction, a story, some demonstrable facts were all that mattered? That if you couldn't find some way to extract them from your skull in a form understandable by other people they were still Pulitzer worthy?

4. "What Pryor said that isn't offensive, to me anyway, is 'I always looked up to Mike Vick and I always will because I still think he is one of the best quarterbacks.'" I'll come back to this one.

5. "The level of intolerance that people so boldly express now is stunning and even worse, quietly accepted." Intolerance has to do with things like fashion, hygiene, and manners. It's an idiotic word when you apply it to to matters of fundamental human behavior. Can I be "tolerant" of wifebeating? Pedophilia? Killing? Animal cruelty? As long as they act sorry afterwards? Sorry, Michael. (Whichever one answers...)

6. "Don't think for a minute that race under the guise of conservatism has nothing to do with this." I'll come back to this one, too.

7. "But the sanctimonious criticism directed at anybody who suggests that Vick should have a second chance or that people should simply let him be, has become ugly. And if young Pryor is bold enough to take the heat for simply speaking his mind, even if the sentiment is unpopular, some of us ought to be bold enough to stand with him." By all means stand with him. As long as you're still standing with him when his career goes nowhere and he's tending bar in Dublin, Ohio, 25 dreary improverished years from now.

But you won't be there, will you Michael Wilbon? You're just using Terrelle Pryor for your own expedient political purposes. Because there are a whole lot of things you'd be more forthcoming about if you really cared about Terrelle, or race, or young people, or even all your political ideals. But you don't really care about those things. You're just another hypocritical liberal mass media parasite.

Name calling? Yup. But I can prove it all. You make your living in and from the world of professional sports. You know -- not kidding, you KNOW -- that the mysterious difference between the dazzling college stars who fizzle in the pros and the Hall of Fame all stars in every professional sport is almost always disciplined intelligence, an ability to work as hard and productively at the mental aspects of the game as the physical. You also know that reading, writing, and 'rithmetic figure strongly in this hidden part of the excellence equation. No, they don't have to be scholars, but being a person with the attributes of a scholar is indispensable.

That's why the speeches at the Hall of Fame inductions are usually so moving. Outfielders, point guards, goalies, offensive linemen, and murderous linebackers step up to that podium and wow us because they have a sense of history, personal humility, emotional memory, family, language, and character that makes them momentarily eloquent and usually overcome. Illiterate, narcissistic psychopaths need not apply. When brutes do creep into the mix on the basis of pure physical skills, they are, well, embarrassments, and they may have made fortunes but they don't rest comfortably in the eternity of the game. Yeah, it's probable that O.J. Simpson was the greatest NFL running back who ever lived, better than Brown, Sayers, and Payton. But whose story would you rather repeat to your children? And would you still defend Terrelle Pryor if he put O.J. on his eyeblack because he was "the greatest back ever"?

But you choose to defend stupidity on behalf of stardom and high draft status while overlooking the one supreme service you could provide to the people of your race you are so hypersensitive about. You could, not to put too fine point on it, tell young people the truth. What's that?

What IS that, kemo sabe?


I understand you pitched a one-hitter when you were a high-schooler, Michael. Did you ever think you were going to be in the White Sox starting rotation? No? Why not?

Because you weren't an idiot. At St. Ignatius you also paid attention in math class and you knew that there are only about 10,000 jobs in professional baseball, most of which pay almost nothing. Compared to jobs for smart well educated people, which amount to maybe 50 million. Which are far FAR greater odds than any that exist for making a living at professional basketball. How many NBA jobs? 500? If you care as you say you do, how can you not stump the country, night and day, imploring kids to learn everything they can in school, as opposed to offhandedly reporting that college students of all kinds are "numbingly inarticulate"? Oh. That's right. You have a career to look after, WAPO savant...

YOU MAKE ME COMPLETELY SICK. The only hope for young people who have athletic talent and less than stellar academic talent is to find a sport in which they might earn a scholarship for the purpose of getting a real education that could lead to a job, graduate school, or other knowledge-based opportunity. Swimming, diving, gymnastics, wrestling, soccer, baseball, volleyball, lacrosse, etc, etc. Which mean run like hell from both basketball and football, the worst dead ends in terms of college opportunity there are. Less than one percent make the pros. The other 99 percent have no time to go to class and finish as 7-11 clerks with lifelong physical disabilities well after they've had their 48 minutes on national TV.

What do YOU do? You comment in your cultured, sanctimonious way about only the most high visibility sports, and you make excuses for the total illiterates who are exploited by the American collegiate athletic system and discarded afterwards, except for the celebrated one percent who get to be privileged thugs, given endless second chances, by you, in the professional marketplace. Because they give you something to talk about. And patronize the rest of us about. On air. Screw you.

Terrelle Pryor will be a non-story in the professional ranks. He's an athlete. But he's as doomed as Michael Vick. Whose inexplicable failure to be a great NFL quarterback is easily explicated by the fact that he's -- barring some unlikely intervention by wise, stern men who care -- a fantastically athletic but narcissistic, semi-literate, psychopathic punk  Just like Vince Young. He'll never look like a living statue at the Canton induction ceremony, applauded by his physician, professorial, and otherwise professional children and his beloved wife of 30 or 40 years. Take my bet: Vick (and Pryor after him if the cycle isn't broken) will spend more time in prison than delivering motivational speeches. Just like O.J.

Still objecting, Wilbon? What would you tell Terrelle in private if you weren't defending him from the fancied army of intolerant white people who actually have moral standards? You'd tell him to grow up. You'd tell him to get an education. Like YOU did. You'd tell him to watch and learn from the dignity of men like Jamie Dukes.

You should have seen his lesson on NFL Gameday Scoreboard to
 his co-hosts about being "the face of the franchise."  Impressive.

Yeah, I know who he is. He puts you to shame in terms of pure character stature, Wilbon. Even if he didn't go to private Catholic school. He's actually learned something from his Florida State education.

Being a man isn't about race. It's about, uh, well, being a man. Something Terrelle Pryor will never learn if he reads your columns.

BONUS. Top points for the first person who can document the tongue lashing Michael Vick administered to Terrelle Pryor for having picked the wrong NFL idol... and extra credit for the substitute idols he suggested to the very fine young man who worships the ground he walks on...

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Pres pays his token regard...

ORDINARY GOODNESS. Was Obama at Ground Zero on this first anniversary of 9/11 to occur during his presidency? No. But he showed up at the Pentagon and registered his usual dry-eyed vote, "Present."

Secretary Gates, Admiral Mullen and members of the Armed Forces, fellow Americans, family and friends of those that we lost this day -- Michelle and I are deeply humbled to be with you.
Eight Septembers have come and gone.  Nearly 3,000 days have passed -- almost one for each of those taken from us.  But no turning of the seasons can diminish the pain and the loss of that day.  No passage of time and no dark skies can ever dull the meaning of this moment.

So on this solemn day, at this sacred hour, once more we pause.  Once more we pray -- as a nation and as a people; in city streets where our two towers were turned to ashes and dust; in a quiet field where a plane fell from the sky; and here, where a single stone of this building is still blackened by the fires.

We remember with reverence the lives we lost.  We read their names.  We press their photos to our hearts.  And on this day that marks their death, we recall the beauty and meaning of their lives; men and women and children of every color and every creed, from across our nation and from more than 100 others.  They were innocent.  Harming no one, they went about their daily lives.  Gone in a horrible instant, they now "dwell in the House of the Lord forever."

We honor all those who gave their lives so that others might live, and all the survivors who battled burns and wounds and helped each other rebuild their lives; men and women who gave life to that most simple of rules:  I am my brother's keeper; I am my sister's keeper.

We pay tribute to the service of a new generation -- young Americans raised in a time of peace and plenty who saw their nation in its hour of need and said, "I choose to serve"; "I will do my part."  And once more we grieve.  For you and your families, no words can ease the ache of your heart.  No deeds can fill the empty places in your homes.  But on this day and all that follow, you may find solace in the memory of those you loved, and know that you have the unending support of the American people.

Scripture teaches us a hard truth.  The mountains may fall and the earth may give way; the flesh and the heart may fail.  But after all our suffering, God and grace will "restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast."  So it is -- so it has been for these families.  So it must be for our nation.

Let us renew our resolve against those who perpetrated this barbaric act and who plot against us still.  In defense of our nation we will never waver; in pursuit of al Qaeda and its extremist allies, we will never falter.

Let us renew our commitment to all those who serve in our defense -- our courageous men and women in uniform and their families and all those who protect us here at home.  Mindful that the work of protecting America is never finished, we will do everything in our power to keep America safe.

Let us renew the true spirit of that day.  Not the human capacity for evil, but the human capacity for good.  Not the desire to destroy, but the impulse to save, and to serve, and to build.  On this first National Day of Service and Remembrance, we can summon once more that ordinary goodness of America -- to serve our communities, to strengthen our country, and to better our world.

Most of all, on a day when others sought to sap our confidence, let us renew our common purpose.  Let us remember how we came together as one nation, as one people, as Americans, united not only in our grief, but in our resolve to stand with one another, to stand up for the country we all love.

This may be the greatest lesson of this day, the strongest rebuke to those who attacked us, the highest tribute to those taken from us -- that such sense of purpose need not be a fleeting moment.  It can be a lasting virtue.

For through their own lives –- and through you, the loved ones that they left behind –- the men and women who lost their lives eight years ago today leave a legacy that still shines brightly in the darkness, and that calls on all of us to be strong and firm and united.  That is our calling today and in all the Septembers still to come.

May God bless you and comfort you.  And may God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)

Um. Yeah. Empty, arid words and the Great Manipulator's resort to  Service and Remembrance. (Applause. Applause?)

And I have to say one nasty thing. Those of you who lost family on 9/11 and signed the same petition Van Jones did -- you have forfeited my sympathy. Sorry. That's just the way it is.

For all the rest there is still the inconsolable sadness that only those who live every day with deep loss can ever understand.

Let us defend this republic against ALL who who would do it in.


TruePunk Responds


YEAH. ME. So. On a post I didn't even write, Steve from Canada decided to unload on in half a dozen comments on some Lost Weekend sort of night. That's okay. We don't charge rent for our Comments section. But something happened between him and another commenter that we have to respond to. First, here's a concatenation of multiple "Steve" comments:

America has never produced a Mozart nor a Beethoven.

Precision Marine drill with bagpipes still makes me tear up. Seriously, Marines rock. Ask any Canadian grunt in Afghanistan...

I will grant you one mulligan -- Hendrix. But that's it.

Punk? Fucking give me a break! I lived trough the 1970s same as you, 'cept I wasn't permanently PCP brain-fucked to the point where I ever -- EVER -- thought that punk culture was anything other than the nadir (until now) of US decline. Punk by definition is ugly, anti-Christian and just plain irrelevant to anyone who gives a shit about 6,000 years of art...

You know what pisses me off?

It's like having a perfect older brother who would always bail you out when you made stupid kid mistakes.

All that swept away with one election. You fucking monumenatally egostically stupid Americans elected a communist immediately after waging a 50 year cold war against communism.

It's like dieting -- a year of watching calories is undone by a month-long cake binge. Your 200 years has yielded: a population even Canadians are disgusted by. Fuck you and your martial culture!

Let's see you take over Southern Alberta. You'd get 100 feet and there'd be a military cease-and-desist. We really might as well have 10th century Rome as a "threat".

Thanks to you fucktards I've had to buy new shotgun shells, sight in the old deer rifle, wire the 163 year old house for a generator, and set in provisions.

And we aren't going to fight any more wars for you. Find us in the mountains and the villages, one by one.

Losers. Fuck you. ..

While we're in the mood, there is one IP contributor who loves to make assholish remarks about Canadians.

Last week: two more dead. US equivalent: 20

Fuck you, TruePunk. Fuck you up the arsehole with a gun barrel. [boldface added]

Next, here's the rebuttal from our own "Billy Oblivion," who's as certain in his own way as Steve is in his:

Dude, back off on the Meth a bit. Seriously, life lasts longer when you don't do that shit.

Punk wasn't any more anti-christian than anything else in the late 70s and early 80s. I've known a lot of punks of various kinds, and most of them had personal relationships with religions that gave them good reason for their attitudes. Some were still very strong in their beliefs in god, some weren't. And given how the major churches in America were behaving (RCs covering up child sexual abuse for example, and the rise of the Send Me Your Money mega churches), they (the churches) deserved every bit of the abuse they got...

I've been a fairly hard core punk/Deathrock type (hung out with a lot of Goths in the 90s) since highschool and while yes, there is a strong currently of anti-religion in Punk, it goes right along with the rest of the anti-authoritarianism and nihilism that was a product of and a reaction to 70 something years of progressive politics in American and Western Europe (1900s-1970s). I can't find the article(s) now, but there was some stuff published that indicated a deliberate attempt by socialist/communist organizers in England to co-opt the punk "movement" there. Obviously it had much more success there (Crass, Sub-Hum-Ans (as opposed to the Canadian Subhumans, which was a totally different band) for example had ardent and obvious left wing politics. But then Britain always was further left than the US.

American *has* produced the likes of Mozart's and Beethovens in terms of talent, but our cultural tastes ran along very, very different lines. In the US we didn't (until FDR) have a real patronage system, so talent had to find popular acclaim to keep working, not just critical acclaim or the pleasure of one man.

Europe produced Bach and Brahms. America produced Johnny Coltrane, Miles Davis, Fats Domino, Charlie Parker and Duke Ellington. And the Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo.

Canada is really screwy. Your snipers rock, your Royal Engineers impressed the hell out of my father in Korea (which takes a lot. He was a fairly tough guy). It's disappointing that your soldiers aren't as well respected inside you country. And your "Human Rights Commission" needs to be put down with prejudice (BTW, feel free to name 8 or 10 American departments, commissions, councils or whatever that also need a single .22 shot to the back of the head). [boldface added]

Which is where I, TruePunk, have to step in. First of all, thank you, Steve, for reminding everyone of the truly outstanding posts InstaPunk has done about Canada (1, 2), which I also didn't write.  Their deep-down goodness and truth speaks for itself and requires no additional rhetoric from yours truly.

Second, I have to note the schizophrenia of the "phrenzied" abuse of the U.S. in the context of this extraordinary confession: "It's like having a perfect older brother who would always bail you out when you made stupid kid mistakes." Is that so? Yeah, we are the older brother and, as such, we've been everywhere and faced everything important before you, almost always with an eye out for your safety as the resident shrimp, and most of your accusations are as easily dismissible as the tantrums they are. You hate us, you love us, understood. We really don't care. When push comes to shove, we'll see to it that nothing awful happens to you. Even if we give you noogies afterwards for inconveniencing us.

And I don't care at all about your debate with Billy over the origins of punk. At all. Or your childish tirade about me, TruePunk. Fine. Have at it. If you ever do piss me off, look out. I'll tear you a new one faster than you can churn out 50 new deranged comments. Right now, I don't care to.

BUT. There's an exchange between Steve and Billy that I can't let pass without remark:

Steve: America has never produced a Mozart nor a Beethoven.

Billy: Europe produced Bach and Brahms. America produced Johnny Coltrane, Miles Davis, Fats Domino, Charlie Parker and Duke Ellington. And the Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo.

What an unmitigated load of noisome crap on both sides.

You're both assholes, for different but complementary reasons. I'll demonstrate why one at a time.

Steve's assertion is meaningless. Nobody but Austria ever produced a Mozart. Nobody but Germany ever produced a Beethoven (or Bach). Nobody but Britain ever produced a Turner, Shakespeare or Dickens.  Nobody but Poland ever produced a Chopin. Nobody but Italy ever produced a Michelangelo, da Vinci, or Puccini. Nobody but France ever produced a Debussy, Satie, Piaf, or Voltaire. Nobody but the Russians ever produced a Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, or Tolstoy. Nobody but Spain ever produced a Goya, el Greco, or Gaudi. Nobody but Norway...

Are you starting to get it yet? Genius is always unique. But, by the way, nobody but Canada ever produced... uh, Gordon Lightfoot and Celine Dion? The Mozart/Beethoven argument hardly qualifies Canada as a superior to the United States.

Phooey. Steve, you're a fool.

Which leads me to Billy Oblivion's response, which is, honestly, the real reason I'm responding to such duelling nonsense at all.

"Johnny Coltrane, Miles Davis, Fats Domino, Charlie Parker and Duke Ellington." Unhhh. So tired of this pretentious bullshit. Soooo tired.

Yeah. Only a tiny handful of black musicians are available to stake America's claim to a contribution to the music world.  What fucking politically correct horseshit.

America's contribution to the world of music is so huge it surpasses, by far, even the accomplishments of Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, and every other genius composer whose works are played in symphonic halls around the world. America democratized music. And it's not just a black thing. America added multiple new genres to the world of music: Broadway, country, blues, jazz, rock and roll, and, yes, even pop, which if it has given us Britney Spears has also given us Judy Garland and Frank Sinatra.

What a small-minded vision it is that surveys American musical history and can only cite the heroin jazz of Johnny Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Charlie Parker with a nod to the ancillary contributions of Fats Domino and Duke Ellington. What utter crap. Leaving Louis Armstrong off this list is a sure sign of incompetence, even given the myopic narrowness of the observer.

It tires me out even to try to list the key figures in American music, and I'm not going to try to connect anyone to the obviously abundant YouTube files of Cole Porter, Jimmy Rodgers, Scott Joplin, Jerome Kern, George Gershwin, Aaron Copland, Woody Guthrie, "Blind" Lemon Jefferson, Leadbelly, Aerosmith, Bing Crosby, Johnny Cash, Artie Shaw, Patsy Kline, Beebe King, Elvis Presley, Muddy Waters, Bunny Berigan, Roy Orbison, Samuel Barber, Nina Simone, Bob Dylan, Hank Williams, Sinatra, Garland, Brubeck, Doris Day, Tom Waits... aaagh, forget it.

To leave anybody out is an automatic crime. But the list of Americans is so long it hammers the memory to mush.

What the hell is wrong with you people? To think that music is a vulnerability of the American contribution is moronitude. To think that the rebuttal of such a lame assertion is a function of a handful of artists from one ethnic group is imbecility.


As for the rest of you, go to YouTube and rediscover the incredible volume contribution of American artists to music. Trust me. It will help you forget just how ugly TruePunk gets when he reads nonsense from InstaPunk commenters.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Say Anything

The Great Prevaricator

APOLOGIZED FOR WHAT? He really thinks we're fools. But he's figured everything wrong. People don't care what he wants or promises or pretends is in the healthcare bill of his fantasies. They care about what's actually in the bill that's working its tortuous way through the small intestine of the senate and the large intestine of the house. And they're afraid of what noxious abomination [sp?] will be excreted into their faces at the end of that process. Obama's narcissistic celebration of his private delusions had nothing whatever to do with that gross, physical reality. The entire show may as well have taken place in some alternate universe. That's how little it had to do with our reality.

Which is why there's nothing more that needs to be said about it. Plenty more, perhaps, that needs to be said about him and his despicable party, but there's plenty of time for that later.

Why Government-Run
Healthcare Kills People

The profit motive is a clumsy goody-two-shoes machine.
In operation it's the equivalent of a mechanical Sisyphus.

OH STOP. The clip above is the only one I was able to find of a 1971 movie called The Hospital starring George C. Scott and Diana Rigg. It was an exceptionally dark comedy about a big city hospital and all the ways the medical system can kill you through negligence, apathy, carelessness, incompetence, defeatism, despair, paperwork, and, yes, random insanity. Here it's been turned into a music video, and I'm well aware that many well-intentioned liberals will regard it as an artistic argument for government-run healthcare as a superior alternative to the antediluvian  free-market healthcare they're trying to eradicate. But to illustrate the relevance, I offer this comment on the work from the coverage of the movie:

I had never paid much attention to this flick until I learned that Paddy Chayefsky - author of the brilliant "Network" - was the scriptwriter. His work there had instructed me as to his genius, so when 'Hospital' appeared on TMC, I was anxious to see it. I was not disappointed. Looking at both this film and "Network" it would seem that his big theme is the absurdity, inanity, and sheer viciousness of large human enterprises (e.g., hospitals, networks) against the sanctity of individual experience and the human spirit, and all of it delivered with a knife-edge sense of utterly black humor. "Hospital" is as black of a comedy as "Network" is, and the excellent cast, led by the incomparable Scott, does his work full justice. This is a keeper; definitely not to miss. [boldface added]

The emphasis throughout is on human failings, which you don't have to be a genius to recognize as the bete-noir liberals are trying to preempt through government interventions.

My point today is that such high-minded intentions are doomed to failure. Liberals of this stripe are guilty of fundamental errors of both perception and logic. More importantly, these errors are intrinsic to their entire philosophy of social contracts and the role of government versus the role of free individuals. My argument is not even principally economic, even though it involves some few primitive economic ideas. At base I'm dealing with two far more basic elements: size and consequences. The difference can be understood best by seeing where these elements conflict with popular notions of economics.

For example, in a complex system, we can begin to believe that there is an organization which is "too big to fail." That is, the immediate consequences of its failure seem so catastrophic that liquidation must be prevented at all costs.

But at the more primitive level I'm considering here, there is a supervening axiom: there is such a thing as an organization that is too big to survive. Why? Because it contains too many people who are too far removed from consequences to respond efficiently to crisis and change.

The logic error is that the downfall of large organizations is the profit motive. That's why lefties hate capitalism. The truth is that the profit motive is the one (effectively moral) stick that pushes large organizations toward human responsibility despite all the human failings of the people who compose them. Companies that abuse, cheat, or take their customers for granted lose business to competitors who don't. The one exception: monopolies. The customers they abuse, cheat, and take for granted have nowhere to go.

Where do we see monopolies in present day life? The state division of motor vehicles. Utilities -- electric and natural gas. Most municipal and metropolitan newspapers. Small town hospitals. And almost all paid government services: the Post Office, municipal "public servants," police, and trash collection. (Today is trash day here. I can walk out to my rural road right now and see township-provided trash receptacles sprawled everywhichway on the asphalt, up and down as far the eyes can see, where they've been carelessly hurled by the people who provide us this "service.")

[Hey, let's hear it for the "walk slow" esthetic of government employees. You know, the oh-so-glacial change of shift at the Post Office, the turtle-like speed with which your car is put through state inspection by slovenly uniformed people who can't be bothered to say "Hiya, how're ya doing today?") (corporate culture, anyone?), or County Clerks who ignore you at the desk while they finish gossiping with their co-workers until they, uh, finally, look up and barely acknowledge your existence?

No mystery. They don't care. Our satisfaction is no part of their incentive.]

Is this a unique failing of government employees? No. It's the kind of tunnel vision people default to when they encounter too many other people in the course of a working day. They stop seeing other people as other people and start seeing them as units of annoyance. Why do we associate this behavior with government employees? Because they have no explicit, immediate incentive to do otherwise. Which, in the corporate, sickeningly "for-profit" world, means being nice to the customer or getting fired because offending customers hurts, uh, profits.

Is this a depressing notion? Yes. But it's also enlightening and encouraging. If capitalism -- meaning economic competition -- is "war by other means," it means for-profit corporations are conducting their war by forcing employees to be, well, altruistic: anticipating customer objections, responding to them, preventing them, and where necessary, placating them, all in the name of self-interest.

Companies that thrive for a long time are the equivalent of the archaic New Yorker ideal of the "Old Lady from Dubuque." They don't want to offend anybody. That's why they have made themselves hapless victims of political correctness. They labored to remain apolitical even in circumstances where it seemed suicidal, and -- with almost incredible irony -- held themselves to a standard indistinguishable from generic Christianity or Confucianism: they expected their employees to treat customers as the company would like to be treated. In fact, they demanded of the corpus of their employees that the organizational standard was higher than any individual standard a church could expect. Friendliness. Honesty. Generosity. Forgiveness. Turning the other cheek to a fault. And when they failed at this, as they did sometimes, they went docilely out of business. The profit motive made the conceptual individual of the corporation more moral than most of its constituent members. The breaking point always seemed to come from too much success, when a company like IBM or GM got so hugely successful that its top managemnt forgot the Golden Rule. Which is, in economic terms, a sign of old age, senility, and doom. (And government organizations of every kind.)

When a corporation gets so big and so remote from its end customers that the decision makers come to believe that the market is looking for opportunities to buy from them alone, without their having to earn the business, the organization has gotten too big and must die. I once worked for a computer company like this. It died. And it deserved to die. That's the cruelty of capitalism. But zombie organizations are far worse. Zombie organizations are those whose employees don't ever have to see anyone as customers. They are paid on the basis of seniority, tenure, paper credentials, and connections. They have no responsibility to serve anyone but themselves. That's the government model. And it's exactly like that of the universities where all our smartest experts are supposed to be coming from. Why wouldn't they hate capitalism, which insists that you prove your value to the organization in terms of measurable results?

But universities get away with providing no measurable service. They can get away for a long time with providing degrees that amount to no real education or capability. The fruit, or lack of it, of their performance won't be measurable for another generation at least. Their graduates who can't think or create won't be adjudged failures until most of them are dead. What a pefect gig.

But healthcare. There's the rub. A monopoly on healthcare will produce catastrophic results in no time flat. People who know something and still don't care because they have no incentive to will produce millions of victims almost from the git-go. When there's no profit motive, doctors, nurses, orderlies, technicians, and the population of bureaucrats that will exceed their number  will all be able to adopt the "walk slow" mentality, and no one will be able to make a one-to-one connection between their self-interest and the delayed surgeries, withheld drugs, coerced deaths, and convenient decisions that make their lives easier in a system where consequences are mostly random, superfluous, and meaningless.

It's entirely natural, almost an occupational inevitability, that doctors and nurses become cold about death and other human costs of their mistakes. It's a hard thing to deal, every day, with the fact that people in your care will die routinely, sometimes horribly. But we make a huge mistake when we cover the God complex that often results with the comforting camouflage of a bureaucracy that forgives all in the name of statistical normalization.

Our best bet is, has always been, to make them compete with each other to keep us and our loved ones alive. That's what rouses them from their arrogant indifference to matters of life and death. Give it over to the government and they are not just likely but certain to conspire in the ego-inflating delusion that they are entitled to decide who among us should live and who should die.

Which is anti the bone-simple incentive of capitalist entrepreneurs to please their customers by exceeding their expectations.

Government. Being in charge. Knowing better. Smarter than all the rest of us put together. Do you really want to put doctors together with the government? In charge? To decide life and death matters about the rest of us? (Jeez. How many documentaries have you see about doctors who murdered their spouses because, well, they were in the way...?) The people who get off on playing God and making rules will make rules, and the people who get off on bossing other people around and enforcing rules will sit behind their desks and administer death to millions without a second thought. They're the strong right arm of the only thing government is good at. The rigid application of force. (There's a whole other discussion we won't get into here about why this works in the military. But it's not really a contradiction. Just a lone exception.)

Capitalism is the native resistance of the rest of us. No. Doctors don't get to decide. The government doesn't get to decide. We get to decide. Because we know better than any of the smart and powerful what matters in and about life. Because we're customers of enterprises that don't make money if we think they're assholes.

I'll close with a simple thought experiment. Imagine that your small town has not one but three DMVs. Not one but three local hospitals. Ya think they might treat you differently if you walked into one, got no service, and had the option of going to one or two others? Ya think?! Now: do you want more or fewer local competitors for your custom?

So tell me why the profit-motive is immoral. It seems like a crowbar up the ass of the immoral to me.

But that's just me.

Corporations aren't nice. But if they don't care what you think, they die.

P.S. It's a fight that's never done. That's the bitch of it. The idiots who think they can run the rest of our lives better than we can never EVER give up. That's the meaning of Sisyphus.

UPDATE. We've been, appropriately I think, corrected in our movie selection by commenter Bill:

Behold the kind largesse of government healthcare.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

They're not red balloons for nothing.

MOOO. I don't know what's supposed to be significant about 9/9/09, but some people apparently do, or think they do. But people think a lot of different things, don't they? That's the theme here today, an atypical (for us) roundup of what some of the thinkers are thinking, with an emphasis on the ones we tend to agree with. (We're not going to keep repeating "read the whole thing;" in most cases that's what we recommend and the excerpts here are generally teasers, not nutshell summaries.)

For example, the big story in the MSM yesterday was the president's speech to schoolkids, which we were told ad nauseam made all of us who had reservations about it look like jerks. The message was basically, "Move on, nothing to see here," with time out for the usual gratuitous insults from the White House and its apologists. Most conservatives meekly subsided after the text of the speech was published in advance. But not all of them. We liked what Heather MacDonald had to say:

The overheated right-wing pundits were on to something after all.   Obama’s speech to the “nation’s students” was pompous, ridiculously long, chock-full of ed-school bromides, and wholly beyond a president’s proper role.

Why should students study, according to Obama?  Because they will develop “critical thinking skills” from “history and social studies” that will allow them “to fight poverty and homelessness, crime and discrimination, and make our nation more fair and more free.”

How about studying because you will gain actual knowledge–not just “critical thinking skills”–that will lift you out of ignorance?  How about for the love of learning and beauty?  How about because facts matter?

There was, of course, another big story the MSM didn't want to talk about because they hadn't talked about while it was becoming a big story: i.e., the Van Jones affair. Rich Lowry is naming names:

The New York Times managed not to mention the Jones controversy until he quit. Times readers learned that he was dead without ever hearing that he was sick. It must have been a little like waking up in Stalin-era Russia to find that a commissar in good standing had unaccountably been erased from history. Charles Freeman, a rabidly anti-Israel Obama appointee for a top intelligence job, suffered the same strange fate — undone by a controversy the Times didn’t deign to notice until it ended.

What coverage there was yesterday consisted mostly of explaining away all the unacceptable entries on Jones's resume. John McWhorter of the New Republic, for example, was contemptuously indignant.

With the Obama Administration letting Green Jobs czar Van Jones resign, questions as to whether these people have any spine are becoming sadly legitimate. What, precisely, would have been wrong with letting Glenn Beck and the others keep screaming their heads off about Jones’ purported radical intentions? Why not do a Glinda and dismiss this nonsense with a breezy “You have no power here”? 

After all, we are faced here not with serious charges. There are no modern-day Whittaker Chambers in this crowd. The Republican smears against Obama of late are nonsense, pure and simple...

As for Jones calling Republicans idiots [ED. not the word Jones used], the way things are lately plenty of Republicans are doing that too, and quite a few of them are hardly above making the charge of Democrats. And Jones’ flirtation with Communism was brief and partly rhetorical. There are genuinely committed Communists, but Jones’ life story gives no indication of his being one. I knew quite a few “Communists” in college who are now mowing their lawns and working as management consultants.

I especially like the airy assertion that "Jones’ life story gives no indication of his being" a committed communist. Who would know the difference between "committed" and "reformed" better than David Horowitz? Here's what he told Glenn Beck in a recent interview on the subject:

When you are a radical, you believe that you are in the army of the saints, a righteous person, and it's immoral. And if you — you know, I just read actually Van Jones' book, "The Green Economy," and you can see he defends himself against people who say he's selling out.

That's the big thing you can't do. If you sell out, then you become vilified. I mean, I've been — you know, I'm just totally vilified on the left. So, there's — everybody in the left understands, you know, I don't want to be a sellout. And it's actually something I said to myself when I was young.

So, you can always tell when a radical has changed, because they tell you they're changed, and they understand what's wrong with the left, and what's wrong with the left is its agendas, what it actually does — not what it says, but what it does. [boldface added]

Providing cover for the radical lefties who haven't sold out is one of the prime reasons for the czar approach to staffing the Obama administration. This is the reason why so few people have even heard of key appointees like Ron Bloom, John Holdren, and Mark Lloyd.. They're being smuggled in (and sometimes out) almost invisibly, with no accountability to congress or the constitution. According to the American Spectator, this is all part of a deliberately clandestine "outreach" to the extreme left wing of the party:

The White House shouldn't expect the furor over Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation at the White House Council on Environmental Quality Van Jones to go away just because he's resigned, says a former Obama Administration transition team member, because "the same problems that they created with Jones's hiring are there for others and they don't seem to care about the political damage these people may inflict."

According to several White House sources, Jones was hired for his "green jobs czar" positions over concerns raised by the White House Counsel's Office, after Jones's background materials came back with several of what were termed "inconsistencies" in the Standard Form 86 Questionnaire for National Security Positions.

The principal driver of such staffing choices is one of Obama's most senior and longstanding advisers:

The counsel's office places part of the blame on the Office for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement, which is overseen by Obama Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President Valerie Jarrett. Jones's "czar" job was created by the OIAPE, and Jarrett interviewed Jones for the position. In speeches before far-left groups over the past five months, Jarrett touted Jones's hiring, in part, because the groups, many of which count 9/11 truthers and radical environmentalists and anti-capitalists as members, were familiar with Jones's brand of anti-Americanism and economic radicalism.

"This wasn't simply Valerie Jarrett rubberstamping her guy," says a White House source. "You don't fill a position like this without his hire being approved at a couple of different levels at least."

But Jarrett did view Jones as a critical member of the administration for her outreach efforts, in part, because he was so well known and respected in the radical-left world the administration is counting on to help with issues like health care and cap and tax, and, more importantly, campaign efforts in 2010.

Late in the article, there's an extremely sinister nugget of information about another of Obama's czars and his true mission:

Jarrett also had a hand in recruiting Obama friend Cass Sunstein, a former colleague of the president's at the University of Chicago Law School, and now administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs within the Office of Management and Budget. Known inside the White House as the "Regulation Czar," Sunstein is tasked with developing regulations around the policies for environmental, healthcare, and safety issues.

According to administration sources, Sunstein's office is looking for ways to impose through the regulatory process those Obama White House health care, environmental, and labor policies that do not survive the legislative process.

"The goal from this White House is to have as much nonspecific language passed by Congress in policy areas like health care and the environment and then use Sunstein's office to put in place the regulatory language called for by Congress that gets us to where we want to be.  It may very well be the most important job in this administration, given the lack of success we may have on Capitol Hill," says a White House source. [boldface added]

Here's what's fascinating. This notion of bypassing the annoying faults of the democratic process is becoming a mainstream whisper among so-called liberals. Here's NYT columnist Thomas Friedman (h/t Jonah Goldberg) in his latest op-ed:

Watching both the health care and climate/energy debates in Congress, it is hard not to draw the following conclusion: There is only one thing worse than one-party autocracy, and that is one-party democracy, which is what we have in America today.

One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages. That one party can just impose the politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in the 21st century...

China’s leaders understand that in a world of exploding populations and rising emerging-market middle classes, demand for clean power and energy efficiency is going to soar. Beijing wants to make sure that it owns that industry and is ordering the policies to do that, including boosting gasoline prices, from the top down.

Our one-party democracy is worse. . . .

In the link, Jonah Goldberg properly notes that Friedman's position is Liberal Fascism. But his brief exegesis reminds us that Doctor Zero has an excellent essay providing clear definitions of what fascism really is. It's not to be missed. A teaser only:

The world is sick of parliamentary politics. This is an idea that occurs in every strand of collectivist thought. Collectivists only revere democracy until it has voted them sufficient power… then democracy becomes a cumbersome inconvenience that allows selfish, ignorant fools and corporate shills to interfere with the brilliant work of great men. The Democrats fleeing from town hall meetings are also sick of parliamentary politics, as is the President who defiles American government with dozens of unelected, unconfirmed, unaccountable “czars.” Parliamentary politics proved very inconvenient for the President’s health-care takeover and cap-and-trade bills, and have been driving global-warming cultists mad with frustration for years.

Why is fascism bad? It seems like a ridiculously understated question, similar to asking why cancer is bad, but the answer is important. The grisly ornaments fascism has worn in the past should not distract from the deeper reality of what it is, and why it fails. The essential flaw of fascism is that it elevates the State to control of its citizens, because controlling the economy requires control of the people. A corporation is a voluntary association of people, not an inanimate machine that can be reprogrammed painlessly by wise government advisers. The people who comprise corporations must be kept alienated from the government’s supporters – fascism requires enemies, and turns feral quickly. The government does not require a majority of the people to support it, in order to maintain power.

This deep fascistic tendency is probably the reason for Camille Paglia's latest, and quite eloquent, expression of dismay and confusion about the behavior of contemporary "liberals." She can't imagine what's gotten into them all. A juicy slice:

Why has the Democratic Party become so arrogantly detached from ordinary Americans? Though they claim to speak for the poor and dispossessed, Democrats have increasingly become the party of an upper-middle-class professional elite, top-heavy with journalists, academics and lawyers (one reason for the hypocritical absence of tort reform in the healthcare bills). Weirdly, given their worship of highly individualistic, secularized self-actualization, such professionals are as a whole amazingly credulous these days about big-government solutions to every social problem. They see no danger in expanding government authority and intrusive, wasteful bureaucracy. This is, I submit, a stunning turn away from the anti-authority and anti-establishment principles of authentic 1960s leftism.

How has "liberty" become the inspirational code word of conservatives rather than liberals? (A prominent example is radio host Mark Levin's book"Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto," which was No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list for nearly three months without receiving major reviews, including in the Times.) I always thought that the Democratic Party is the freedom party...

But affluent middle-class Democrats now seem to be complacently servile toward authority and automatically believe everything party leaders tell them. Why? Is it because the new professional class is a glossy product of generically institutionalized learning? Independent thought and logical analysis of argument are no longer taught. Elite education in the U.S. has become a frenetic assembly line of competitive college application to schools where ideological brainwashing is so pandemic that it's invisible. The top schools, from the Ivy League on down, promote "critical thinking," which sounds good but is in fact just a style of rote regurgitation of hackneyed approved terms ("racism, sexism, homophobia") when confronted with any social issue. The Democratic brain has been marinating so long in those clichés that it's positively pickled.

How pickled? A few exhibits that none of us should expect the correctly educated professional class of mainstream journalists to get upset about or even investigate if they can get away with it.

The National Endowment for the Arts Scandal no good liberal is concerned about.

The Downing Street/White House Collusion in the Lockerbie Bomber Release Scandal.

The King of the Universe ploy that should but won't be a scandal. Although at least one thinker has already been thinking about it:

No American president has ever attempted to acquire the image of King of the Universe by officiating at a meeting of the UN’s highest body. But Obama apparently believes that being flanked by council-member heads of state like Col. Moammar Qaddafi — who is expected to be seated five seats to Obama’s right — will cast a sufficiently blinding spell on the American taxpayer that the perilous state of the nation’s economy, the health-care fiasco, and a summer of “post-racial” scapegoating will pale by comparison.

After all, who among us is not for world peace?

Unfortunately, however, the move represents one of the most dangerous diplomatic ploys this country has ever seen. The president didn’t just decide to chair a rare council summit; he also set the September 24 agenda — as is the prerogative of the state holding the gavel for the month. His choice, in the words of American UN Ambassador Susan Rice, speaking on September 2 at her first press briefing since the United States assumed the council presidency, is this: “The session will be focused on nuclear nonproliferation and nuclear disarmament broadly, and not on any specific countries.”

But forget all that. Our attention is supposed to be focused elsewhere -- on the dangling shiny object the president will wave at us tonight from his teleprompter platform.

Up at Camp David over the weekend, we mostly worked really hard on the Congressional speech for Wednesday night.

Because we expect the Wednesday speech to be at least as popular as the school speech, we had the Camp David staff sit in to applaud during the speech so we could time out exactly how long it would take us to get through the full speech.Usually a Big Guy tour de force - like there is any other kind of Big Guy speech - takes up to 90 minutes if he has something he really wants to say. And boy, does he have a lot to say on Wednesday.

We were really surprised that Big O was able to read the speech in under 10 minutes. I mean it was just crickets in the room; which makes me wonder what kind of health insurance those Camp David guys have...

Here's a reminder of the kind of health insurance a benevolent fascist state will provide, once the system is properly regulated by wise experts:

Doctors left a premature baby to die because he was born two days too early, his devastated mother claimed yesterday.

Sarah Capewell begged them to save her tiny son, who was born just 21 weeks and five days into her pregnancy  -  almost four months early.

They ignored her pleas and allegedly told her they were following national guidelines that babies born before 22 weeks should not be given medical treatment.

 Miss Capewell, 23, said doctors refused to even see her son Jayden, who lived for almost two hours without any medical support.

She said he was breathing unaided, had a strong heartbeat and was even moving his arms and legs, but medics refused to admit him to a special care baby unit.

Miss Capewell is now fighting for a review of the medical guidelines.

Good luck with that Miss Capewell. They'll probably be as attentive to your concerns as all the intellectuals in both parties are to the ridiculous alarms being raised here by Sarah Palin:

[L]ook at one way Mr. Obama wants to eliminate inefficiency and waste: He's asked Congress to create an Independent Medicare Advisory Council—an unelected, largely unaccountable group of experts charged with containing Medicare costs. In an interview with the New York Times in April, the president suggested that such a group, working outside of "normal political channels," should guide decisions regarding that "huge driver of cost . . . the chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives . . . ."

Given such statements, is it any wonder that many of the sick and elderly are concerned that the Democrats' proposals will ultimately lead to rationing of their health care by—dare I say it—death panels? Establishment voices dismissed that phrase, but it rang true for many Americans. Working through "normal political channels," they made themselves heard, and as a result Congress will likely reject a wrong-headed proposal to authorize end-of-life counseling in this cost-cutting context. But the fact remains that the Democrats' proposals would still empower unelected bureaucrats to make decisions affecting life or death health-care matters. Such government overreaching is what we've come to expect from this administration.
That should give you all plenty of reading to do on this inauspiciously auspicious rarity of a calendar date. But I'll give you one more thing, this time something to watch, because it's both a reminder of how our president views our country and a palate cleanser, because he is so thoroughly demonstrably wrong. Go here and watch Mr. Bill Whittle on the subject of American Exceptionalism. It's well worth waiting through the little introductory commercial to see.

Happy Ninth, if that's what it is.

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