Newark Star Ledger reporter calls
Trash Barbie. Doesn't that about sum it up?
HAT TIP TO HOTAIR. The things that make me maddest are stupid
people who think they're smart and the contempt of inferiors for their
betters. I've never lived in the south, but I've been to school with
more southerners than most of the south's critics have ever met. Here's
what I've learned. Despite Manhattan solipsism and California
self-actualization, southerners are more complicated than Americans
from other regions. If the major U.S. power centers are analogous to
seat of the empire England, dominated by London snobs and
intellectuals, the south is our
variation on Ireland, but even more complex. (Yet I know one Irish lass
who looks down her nose at all things southern. What she's been taught
by life in the northeast.)
Let me offer a few specifics. We keep hearing that America hadn't been
attacked on its own soil since the war of 1812 (unless you count the
"colony" of Hawaii). Not true. The south experienced a devastating
invasion and occupation which, whether you regard it as deserved or
not, imbued them with an inherited regional and family memory of the horrors of war
no Massachusetts preppie congressman can ever appreciate. Invaded,
destroyed, subjugated, impoverished. So who's naive about the need for
defense? Whose views are "ignorant" on guns and border security and the
sense of Christianity as equal parts forgiveness and crusade?
We romanticize the Irish experience of oppression (and IRA terrorism)
because it produced poets, playwrights, novelists, and other colorful
characters who were simultaneously good and bad, lyrical and violent,
inspired and low, and brave and drunk. The south has all of that and
more. I've never met a southerner who wasn't part racist and part
guilty liberal. Day to day, in-your-face race relations have been a far
more intimate part of their personal experience than it's likely ever
to be for suburban liberals in the rest of the country. The truth no
one wants to consider is that southerners just might be the grownups on
this question. They stare at their own biases in the mirror every day,
and they have to deal with them in ways that go beyond the merely
symbolic and superficial. Blacks and whites in the south have an
exceptionally intricate love-hate relationship with each other, with
more honesty about it than I've ever seen in supposedly more
enlightened environs. Where do most successful black politicians come
from? Check it out, haters. Compared to other regions, a pluraility of
them come from the south. Is there a southern version of the IRA? No.
The Ku Klux Klan exists today primarily as a fantasy of the northern
media, and its high-water mark was never in the south but in Indiana.
That's why I was delighted to see a professed liberal of foreign
extraction write this,
which had to be published in the U.K. rather than the American MSM. I'm
reproducing all of it because I suspect she'd rather have the message
get out than argue about fair use. The author's name is Seema Jilani.
Deep prejudice about the deep south I'm tired of elitist US liberals who
ridicule southerners and then profess their love for Nina
Simone and crawfish etouffee
I am tired of apologising. I apologised for being Muslim, post-9/11 and
more recently for my Pakistani origins. Now, I apologise for being a
southerner too. When an environmental catastrophe erupted in my
backyard, I looked to the media to tell our stories and instead, found
quotes from experts ruminating on energy policy. Where are the
restaurant owners in the French Quarter who still haven't caught their
breath after Katrina swallowed their lives? What about the fishermen?
While recently rubbing elbows with fellow liberals from the east and
west coasts, I felt that their disdain for the lives of the south was
palpable. This led to my quest: to understand why mouths drip with
condescension for the south, and particularly its people.
Is it Dubya? Born in Connecticut, he was a member of Yale's elite Skull
& Bones Society. Ah, Sarah Palin? Born in Idaho, raised in Alaska.
They claim Texas is imploding with rightwing conservatives: Texas has
had 48 governors; six were Republicans. The former Texas governor Ann
Richards once delivered the keynote address at the 1988 Democratic
convention, where she famously said: "He [Bush] was born with a silver
foot in his mouth."
It must be southern racism then. During my medical school interview, I
was asked if I would wear a burqa and told I belonged in hell. This
humiliation occurred in Chicago, not the deep south. During my
Manhattan interview, I was unwelcome because I had done medical work in
Gaza. Bigotry traverses the Mason-Dixon line, you see.
Perhaps then this loathing stems from our monochromatic populace,
lacking diversity. Except that as a physician in Houston, home to the
largest medical centre in the world, I have treated patients from
Somalia, Ecuador and Egypt, among others. Our Vietnamese population
blesses us with phenomenal pho and necessitates a translator 24 hours a
day. Of the 82 majority-black counties in the US, all but one are in
What about our so-called lack of political relevance? Did I mention
that every major Texas city has a higher uninsured rate than the
national rate? One in four Texans lack health insurance. In 2004, 20%
of Texas children were uninsured, compared to 11% nationally. The Pew
Hispanic Centre estimates that Texas alone holds 14% of all
undocumented immigrants. Of the 40 babies I delivered in medical
school, five mothers spoke English. Proponent of immigration reform? It
starts at our borders. Want universal healthcare? We are the uninsured
capital of the country.
This scorn must be because we don't contribute to the country's greater
good then. But 35% of active-duty military come from the south. Of the
US troop casualties in Afghanistan, 47% were from the south, and from
Oddly, the same people who disparage us also have love affairs with our
culture. They ridicule us and then profess their love for Nina Simone,
Austin, Johnny Cash or Louisiana's crawfish etouffee dish when it's
trendy. This brings me to my favourite specimens: cocktail party
progressives. You know the type – can't converse without referencing
the New Yorker. Pretentious, self-congratulatory liberals who applaud
their own humanity while mocking the south. Curiously, they feign
knowledge of Hank Williams when fashionable, but their intellectual
elitism forgets that Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams were southern
I adore our southern nights and the taste of authenticity in Willie
Nelson's voice and Muddy Waters' blues. I love that we celebrate
colossally in New Orleans: Jazz Fest, Crawfish Fest, Mardi Gras, even
Jazz Funerals. I was touched when kind neighbours baked us casseroles
and stood by us as we endured post-9/11 racism. I am proud that
Houstonians opened their homes to 250,000 New Orleans evacuees. That's
genuine southern hospitality. Southerners are not the ignorant,
inbreeding, toothless rifle-owning trailer trash that my progressive
colleagues paint them as. They are vibrant, passionate Americans with
resolve. They have survived and flourished through the civil rights
movement, disastrous hurricanes and oil spills, Enron and Halliburton
scandals, the Fort Hood tragedy and their loved ones coming home in
They have epic stories. It's time our media act as their vessels.
I'm going to follow this with four more links I think are relevant. The
first is to a jocular
press conference President Obama held shortly after his
of the President by Regional Reporters, 3/11/09
Question regarding the geographic
diversity of Obama's appointees:
Q Thank you, Mr. President. I wanted to ask you about your Cabinet and
your senior staff. By my count, you have about seven folks from the
Midwest, six from the West, a crowd from the Northeast, and with maybe
the exception of your able-bodied press secretary --
THE PRESIDENT: Gibbs?
Q Mr. Gibbs.
THE PRESIDENT: He's the only Southerner?
Q I think so.
THE PRESIDENT: You guys are feeling neglected?
Q Yes. (Laughter.) So I'm wondering why is that and what you don't like
about the South?
THE PRESIDENT: I love the South. (Laughter.)...
Obama's Cabinet includes appointees from the West (DHS's Janet
Napolitano, Labor's Hilda Solis, Energy's Steven Chu, Commerce nominee
Gary Locke), the Midwest (Defense Secretary Robert Gates, HHS nominee
Kathleen Sebelius, USDA's Tom Vilsack and DOT's Ray LaHood ), the
Northeast (EPA's Lisa P. Jackson, HUD's Shaun Donovan) and Secretary of
State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who could conceivably claim every region
except the West.
The second is to an Instapunk
post that didn't highlight the south because Obama's area of
ignorance isn't just the south but most of the continental United
States. If you read it,
you'll see why "(Laughter)" is an MSM disgrace.
The third has to do with invisible unintended consequences. From
Profiles Arizona [Andy McCarthy]
Isn't that really what the Attorney General is doing?
He hasn't read the Arizona immigration law, even though reading the law
is the basic duty of any lawyer (let alone the U.S. Attorney General)
who is called on to assess a legal situation.
Thus, he hasn't got reasonable suspicion that Arizonans are violating
the Constitution, even though reasonable suspicion is the basic
investigative standard we expect law-enforcement to satisfy before
officials harass Americans with stepped up scrutiny.
And we know he has a bias because he told us, unabashedly, that he
thinks Americans are "cowards" on matters of race.
Think about it this way: If a police officer, without taking
elementary investigative steps to inform himself about the facts of a
situation, and thus without reasonable suspicion, simply assumed a
person must be guilty of wrongdoing based on the police officer's
avowed prejudice, what would Eric Holder call it?
The fourth is for all of you who are sure you know what you know about
The South and are somehow prepared to condemn Obama and Holder for
their bias without acknowledging your own. It's from a Wiki
post on Southern Culture. I'm only giving you a few paragraphs to
mull. You can dig deeper, far deeper than Wiki does, on your own.
In general, country music is based on the
folk music of white
Southerners, and blues and rhythm and blues is based on African
American southern forms. However, whites and blacks alike have
contributed to each of these genres, and there is a considerable
overlap between the traditional music of blacks and whites in the
South, particularly in gospel music forms. A stylish variant of country
music (predominantly produced in Nashville) has been a consistent,
widespread fixture of American pop since the 1950s, while insurgent
forms (i.e. bluegrass) have traditionally appealed to more discerning
sub-cultural and rural audiences. Blues dominated the African American
music charts from the advent of modern recording until the mid-1950s,
when it was supplanted by the less guttural and forlorn sounds of rock
and R&B. Nevertheless, unadulterated blues (along with early rock
and roll) is still the subject of reverential adoration throughout much
of Europe and cult popularity in isolated pockets of the United States.
pop, despite having never enjoyed greater regional or mainstream
popularity, still thrive throughout French Louisiana and its peripheries,
such as Southeastern Texas. These unique Louisianan styles of folk
are celebrated as part of the traditional heritage of the people of
Louisiana. Conversely, bluegrass music has acquired a sophisticated
cachet and distinct identity from mainstream country music through the
fusion recordings of artists like Bela Fleck, David
Grisman, and the New Grass Revival; traditional bluegrass
and Appalachian mountain music experienced a strong resurgence after
the release of 2001's O Brother, Where Art Thou?.
Many who got their start in the regional
show business in the South
eventually banked on mainstream national and international success as
well: Elvis Presley and Dolly
Parton are two such examples of artists that have transcended
Ya know, politics tries to make life simpler than it is. They're bad,
we're good. We know what laws
The ultimate distillation of the conservative position is that no one knows what laws to make
about the essential human things because law does not necessarily bring
about good. That's why we want
fewer laws, fewer opportunities to punish people we don't understand
for views and behaviors and places the so-called smart people just
Couldn't resist this. With all apologies to Ernest Thayer's 1882
at the Bat":
The Outlook wasn't brilliant for the
Pittsburgh six that day:
The score stood hard against the Pens, with but one minute more to play.
And when the hometown goalie had to leave the ice in shame,
A sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game.
A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;
They thought, if only Crosby could upend the Habs' good luck -
We'd put up even money, now, if Crosby got the puck.
But Penguin offense was anemic, and Hab defense amounted to attack;
The former was a kiss of death because the latter's goalie was Halak.
So on the Pittsburgh legions a bloody sun began to set,
For there seemed but little chance of Crosby charging to the net.
But Montreal got careless, and one reckless pass went just astray;
The checking was ferocious, Pen skaters joined and upped the fray;
And when the spray of ice had settled, the crowd went clean amok,
'Cause Sidney perfect Crosby had possession of the puck.
Then from 10,000 throats and more there rose a hopeful hoot;
It rumbled through the Center, it rattled all about;
It drummed the battered boards and seemed a surefire bet,
For Crosby, Sidney Crosby, was advancing on the net.
There was ease in Crosby's passage as he slithered down the ice;
There was pride in Crosby's bearing and a smile on Crosby's face.
And when, beset by Habs, he escaped with fake and duck,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt 'twas Crosby with the puck.
Ten thousand faces eyed him as he conjured with his stick;
Ten thousand tongues applauded when he slipped another check;
Then while the last defenseman spun from his clever hip,
Defiance gleamed in Crosby's eye, a sneer curled Crosby's lip.
And now the deadly black-eyed puck goes hurtling through the air,
And Crosby waited, watching it, in haughty grandeur there.
Fired by the godlike superstar, the puck unleash-ed sped --
"We'll win it now, Game 7 is ours" the Pen announcer said.
The sneer is gone from Crosby's lip, his teeth are clenched in rage;
He pounds with cruel violence his stick against the cage;
And now the goalie sees the puck, and now he reaches out,
And now the air is shattered by the blare of Crosby's shout...
Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Pittsburgh - Sidney Crosby has struck out.
One miracle down. One miracle to go -- Flyers against the Bruins,
tomorrow night. And, though it goes without saying, congratulations,
This particular outcome was predicted before the game began by our own
Puck Punk. As his editor I can vouch, with my word of honor, that I
received his post at least two hours before the initial face-off. (He
wasn't right about the Flyers, but nobody's perfect.) In deference to
this incredibly unlikely call, I'm giving you the entire post to peruse
at your leisure:
Well I have a good news, every body. I
have a very good news. The
last knock at the door is not the deportion agent or loan
officer, but it is the worker of the census. He ask me why I not
give him my form to the mail, and when I say I am not citizen of the
U.S. he make the big smile and ask me to talk in my house. We sit down
and he explain to me the correct way to make out the form of census.
He say is only practice for when one day soon I am become a citizen in the
amnesty. He even let me practice of fill out the form many, many
time, each time with different name, gender, race and address to match
my neighbors, but always saying I have many childrens. I tell you this,
mes amis: when I am US citizen
in future, always I know how to fill out the census form very good and
all is to the thank of this nice worker.
And for a better news, he gives me the job to collect the more census
form! This is many good because at same time I find out that the Dish
Networks call plan does not work like I think. Instead of get money I
get only the free credit for more Dish Networks service, which I like,
but for what use is many Dish Networks credit if the electric bill can
not be pay?
But now I am come to the best news of all: my Montreal Canadiens. First
they are defeat the Washingtons after being down 3 to 1 games. Then
they are down 3 to 2 games to the Penguin Crosbys, but then they win a
glorious game 6 and are now at the tie of 3 games with the game 7
my heart jump to my throat and my hands are shake, but tonight I
still watch! You must see what you miss if you are not watching the
two night before:
And also the InstaPunk Phlyers have a
good game against the Bear until they lose tonight in Phyladelphia.
I am sorry about this as the InstaPunk is only now discover the
wonderful of the hockey, and maybe he does not watch more if the
Phlyers go away, but as we say in French Canada: c'est la guerre.
For anyone who care about the West, it is very excite. The Shark will
now play the Chicagos, so one of them must go to final to play for
Stanley Cup! I must stress to every body at the InstaPunks to watch
games for seeing much wonderful hockey games! Do not disappoint,
Many of us Canadian forget that outside our country, nobody grow
up with good sports like the hockey or the curling, and maybe
this is why for you it is hard to like the anyshell. All announcer of
Canadian and they do not care to teach a class about rules for every
show. And Barry
Melrose is the only person left at the ESPN who knows
about the hockey, but the American there do not like for him to talk so
much because on
the SportsCentral show they need more of the times to talk about the Danica
Patrick, the any-A basketball with Snoop
Jackson, and the strange game
about the tall,
So do not forget, you must give the hockey a good chance, and start
tonight to watch my Habs as they kill the Penguin and make all in the
Pittsburg cry asleep in bed. For this thought makes my heart warm.
Okay, I must go now for nap. I work night shift of the census tonight
and it start after the game of the Habs and Crosbys. My new boss say to
wear ski hat and bring baseball bat for the work tonight. I do not
understand why is the reason for this or why we must work at late night
to take the census form, but my boss pay me in the cash monies so I do
not ask too many of the questions. Still, I am many excite about this
new job, because it seem your workers of the census are always so
busy. Your country is very amuse.
Somehow, I expect he's going to have more to say shortly.
My Dry Cleaner
Start 3 minutes 25 seconds in. You
. Have I ever told you how much I love America?
Mrs. CP and I have a superlative dry cleaner in our home town. Which is
a poor town. One of my jobs, since I work at home, is to drop off and
pick up the dry cleaning. We struggle over whether I have the receipt
or not for the latest lot. I usually do. But it doesn't matter. All I
have to do if I don't have the receipt is tell the proprietor my phone
number. He has it all under control. He checks his computer, punches a
button and the vast serpentine line of clothes jolts into motion while
he watches and prepares to pounce on the exact right set of draped
Did I tell you he's Korean? Wouldn't want to be politically incorrect.
He's a small, handsome, polite man. He has many employees but you get
the sense that he's the taciturn, firm type as a boss. I've never heard
him raise his voice above a whisper. You walk into the store, a bell
jingles discreetly, and there he is. There's music playing. And you're
overwhelmed by a clean smell. Not of dry cleaning fluid but of
laundered, starched cotton, warm but not hot. He's not young anymore,
and every time I go in I wonder if the wedding pictures on the ceiling
fascia are of him and his wife or of his daughter (son) and her husband
(wife). There's something timeless about the photos. You can't even
even tell if they were taken here or in Korea. But -- and I guess I'm
getting old and sentimental -- they're ineffably sweet pictures
somehow. I study them every time.
So. Yesterday I went in to his place of business. And I heard Mozart
pouring through the place. Raised by Anglo-Saxons, I couldn't bring
myself to ask. And he, being Korean, didn't volunteer. But I
experienced a new synthesis if not an epiphany. Mozart is also the
smell of clean warm cotton and pure Korean love. Never knew that.
Let's call this post a reason check for reasonable conservatives. I'm
probably long overdue in writing it. I have one excuse. I never much
liked Woodrow Wilson, dating back to long before Jonah Goldberg and
Glenn Beck discovered his perfidy against the United States of America.
I just considered him kind of a jerk politician. Still do, in fact,
despite all the calumny that's been laid at his door. But my conscience
got something of a kick in the ass (where do you keep yours?) when I
post by our old friend C.
K. MacLeod at the Green Room. I urge you to read it all before
continuing here, but I'm only going to quote a paragraph or two as a
From income taxes to Mother’s Day, from
child labor restrictions to saving football (Wilson was a lifelong fan,
and a defender of the new sport against attempts to ban it), we could
expand our view of Wilson’s influence virtually at will – especially
if, as the Wilsonhitlerists seem to prefer, we credit him with or blame
him for the entirety of what Hays calls the Populist-Progressive
Era. At some point in this process, modern America would begin to
look like an inheritance directly from Woodrow Wilson, passed down to
us by those who followed in his footsteps – with the men who founded
the country looking like distant ancestors on the family tree,
necessary to our existence, but not very relevant to it.
Regardless of where that argument might lead, I wouldn’t want to be the
one to make it: I don’t see how it can ever be a conservative
project to tear the nation or its history – the two ought to be
inseparable – to pieces. Isn’t that what radical
constitutionalists accuse Wilson of attempting?
I'm not quite as forgiving as McLeod, but on the whole he's right. My
point in discussing it is not so much to rehabilitate Wilson's image as
to surface a few fundamental principles of politics and history I
believe we'd do well to remember during the stormy seasons to come.
For example, I don't fault Goldberg or Beck for tracing the lineage of
ideas that are presently having a huge impact on our nation. All ideas
have their seeds in the past, and understanding requires a certain
amount of intellectual archaeology. Slogans, bumper stickers and other
forms of cant may seem like weeds, but they almost always have deeper
roots than that, some of them as deep as the roots of trees. The act of
digging is necessary and potentially illuminating, but it also poses
some risks. Tracing the tortuous line of an idea as if it were an
insistent, unbroken vine can lead to the perception of a conspiracy
where none actually exists. The word 'fascist' is loaded; however
technically correct it may be denotatively, its horrible latter-day
connotations would probably have appalled H.G. Wells and Woodrow Wilson
as much as they do us. In the era before Hitler, Mussolini, and Franco,
fascism didn't, couldn't,
have meant what it has come to mean to us today.
Permit me to give you a perspective that lets the "liberal fascists" of
Goldberg and Beck off the hook almost completely. They were elitists
who thought they knew better than common folk how things should work,
but that fact alone is hardly sinister. Even the democratic tradition
is imbued with the assumption that governance is best led by the
smartest and most thoroughly educated among us. Our founding fathers
were as guilty of this assumption as the progressives. They were
aristocrats, landowners, generally men of wealth and scholarly
attainment (John Adams went to Harvard; James Madison to Princeton, the
university of which Wilson was president). The log cabin element of
American politics was always more myth than tradition, and while it
produced Lincoln, it also produced James Buchanan, arguably the worst
president before the twentieth century, and quite a number of
mediocrities. History can (and did) lionize Ben Franklin and Andrew
Jackson, but they were notable exceptions from technologically simpler times.
It's easy to forget (or not learn in the first place) that the early
years of the twentieth century represented an explosion of scientific
ideas so profound that we're still grappling with the impacts a full
century later. It was in 1905 that Albert Einstein published papers
that would lead to both the theory of relativity and quantum physics.
How could it be wrong to think that the future of human government
would be determined by advances in science, not homespun nostrums or
antiquated Bible quotations. The world was on the march. Human flight
began in 1911, a year before Wilson took office. Why shouldn't a
university president think he had not the privilege but the duty to
architect a more scientific model of American society?
I suspect he was thinking more in terms of far-seeing cultural design
than control or totalitarian oppression. And in viewing government as a
science he was a pioneer. How many readers out there majored in
'political science'? Does that make them automatically fascist? But
pioneers are frequently wrong. They pursue mistaken directions. They
have ideas that in the end don't pan out. They take huge risks in
formulating their new ideas. Which is why we chose them in the first
place. Woodrow Wilson was a completely exemplary American experiment,
and his fate tells us a great deal about ourselves and our system of
government, even today.
What does it tell us? Several things. 1) Events trump ideas, and
politics trump plans. 2) Even Americans are drawn to aristocrats, but
they never consent to being ruled. 3) Dissecting the lives of famous
men tends to conceal the fact that in the United States, Americans are
the ones in charge, no matter how unscrupulously they rewrite the story
afterwards; and 4) Unintended consequences are grimly real, but without
a statute of limitations, history itself becomes absurd. Let's look at
these one by one. Briefly. I promise.
1) Events trump ideas, and politics
trump plans. In reality, Wilson wasn't an ominous precursor of
FDR, even if that describes his intentions in some bass-ackwards way.
He was a two-term Jimmy Carter. He was elected, like Clinton, with a
plurality rather than a majority of the vote, which meant he had no
mandate. He was naive about foreign affairs, reminiscent of Carter's
human rights obsession. He didn't want the United States to enter World
War I until it became impossible not to. Then he destroyed himself, and
perhaps the rest of the century, by pursuing a naive peace plan that
was probably admirable on paper but doomed in the real world of
politics and human venality. Is this really the man we want to demonize
as the dark heart of Obama's marxist agenda? No. After a hiccup called
Warren Harding, a president named Calvin Coolidge still had the
political clout to cut the federal budget in half and rescue the nation
from depression. How was that possible? Wilson created no huge
permanent entitlements that couldn't be undone. Like Carter, Wilson had
his Reagan. The presidency is the apex of the marketplace of ideas. Wilson proposed, Coolidge disposed. Slam dunk. It's called American exceptionalism.
2) Even Americans are drawn to
aristocrats, but they never consent to being ruled. We do love the highborn, including JFK, FDR, and before him, Wilson. But we still demand results. Wilson
presided over what has to be considered the single greatest failure
ever experienced by an American president. He convinced the world to
set up the League of Nations, but he couldn't persuade his own people
to support it. The congress refused to ratify America's participation.
It was a failure that broke his health and ultimately cost him his
life. This makes him a villain of American history? Hardly. It makes
him a tragic victim of a people he never understood well enough to
persuade them of his vision. Was the vision wise? Probably not. Why he
lost. Remember that.
3) Dissecting the lives of famous men
tends to conceal the fact that in
the United States, Americans are the ones in charge, no matter how
unscrupulously they rewrite the story afterwards. There's a
somewhat less ringing endorsement of this statement here,
courtesy of Jay Cost at RealClearPolitics.com. Read it. And as you do,
remove the qualifiers and temporizing phrases. The truth is, we're
always in charge. We are ruthless in giving the loud and confident
enough rope to hang themselves with. Then, if they fail to produce, we
lower the boom and drive them out of office in punishment for our own
delusions and temporary obsessions. Justice has nothing to do with it.
It's a capitalist measure: the only thing that matters is results. The
American electorate is Jack Welch. We don't care why you failed. You
failed. You're toast. Wilson failed because nearly a million Americans
died on account of World War I -- 100,000 in combat and almost 700,000
in the flu epidemic that followed them home. Did Wilson cause the flu?
No. But it was still his fault. Because we believed his fine words and
his fine words turned into bitter death. That's the track Obama is on
if he cares to learn from history. He's accountable most of all for
what he said that we believed.
4) Unintended consequences are grimly
real, but without a statute of limitations, history itself becomes
absurd. As we've seen, there's plenty of blame that will
be assigned to the players presently on the stage. History, like
progress, is discontinuous. What WIlson did or didn't do has virtually
nothing to do with what Obama is doing or not doing. Progressivism is
not the Illuminati, not some subterranean conspiracy that has bided its
time in secret meetings and waited to spring during the perfect storm
of national vulnerability we're experiencing now. Progressivism is as
old as the founding fathers -- you know, the ones who compromised on
"three-fifths" as the right accounting of black humanity. They made a
measured judgment to deal with the political realities of their time.
Are they now, still, responsible for the fate of a fatherless, abused
child prostitute in Detroit? No. They're not. They did the best they
could and they saw as far they could see. (Nietzche is NOT responsible for Hitler. Hitler is.) I have a friend who blames
the New Deal and its staggering federal power grab on Abraham Lincoln
and his suppression of states rights in order to win the Civil War. Is
he right? No. He's a smart man, but in this instance he's clownishly
wrong. Or is Lincoln the precursor of Woodrow Wilson, who's the
precursor of FDR, who's the precursor of Lyndon Johnson, who's the
precursor of Barack Obama, and maybe Thomas Jefferson is really the guy
we should dig up and hang for the healthcare bill. It's all bullshit.
The history of ideas is instructive. But it's not a replacement for the
history of politics, which is driven by unexpected events, crises, and
the mercurial will of the governed. Politicians, no matter how arrogant
and self-assured, are always our hostages. And that's the good news.
The potential destruction of America and its constitution is not a
predestined outcome of a plot hatched by Woodrow Wilson and his racist,
anti-semitic Princeton football cronies. It's a possible outcome of our inattentiveness, our indifference, our poor decision making, our short-sighted thinking and
convenient memories.It's nice to know where dangerous and
contemporarily destructive ideas originated. But it doesn't absolve us
of our responsibilities.
Which are located in the here and now, with absolutely no room for
evasion or delusion.
Why do I like the picture above? Because it's so evocative of FDR. Same
lordly self-satisfaction in a moment of triumph. The difference between
them? Not much. Both of them were partially educated ignoramuses. But
one of them was politically lucky. And the other one wasn't. Who has
the power to change a politician's luck? Only us.
A police officer in Philadelphia
exercised his so-called discretion this week when he Tasered an unarmed
teenager who ran onto the baseball diamond during a Phillies game. He
shot the 17-year-old prankster from behind, firing 12,000 volts that
sent the boy tumbling into a heap.
The real shock is this was not a clear misuse of force. Officials
defended the officer, saying he followed protocol, which allows police
to Taser a fleeing suspect.
The case is an extreme but timely example of why poorly crafted Taser
policies need to be changed. Regulations restricting use of the weapons
need to be spelled out, so there is little room for such discretion in
the absence of far more aggressive behaviour on behalf of a suspect.
So what. Some people are upset with what goes in the Philadelphia
sports community. Nothing new. Philadelphia is the city they all love
to hate. Then, over the weekend, I learned that two WIP SportsTalk
hosts almost came to blows on air over the subject. Hugh Douglas,
Eagles defensive end, clashed with co-host Rob Charry over the issue of
team safety. Douglas made the point that a nut on the field is a danger
to athletes and to the people who are trying to catch him. Charry, on
the other hand, is a stereotypical sports journalist lefty (we learn
that Charry "likes" this),
who sees a police state behind every potted palm except the ones
statist Democrats are using for props at their news conferences.
Rob Charry: A face made for sports
Charry, who is exactly my age, is, perhaps needless to say, an
obnoxious halfwit I've grown to loathe for his canned diatribes --
whenever call traffic is slow -- about how neither golfers nor racecar
drivers are athletes, as well as his not very well disguised bias
against any athletes who admit to being conservatives. He can't quite
explain, for example, why he dislikes ex-Phillie Curt
Schilling, who never dissed Philly even after moving to Boston. He
just doesn't like him. You know.
Which means in the current instance, I suppose, that the real culprit in the tasing at the
Phillies ballpark was George W. Bush or Dick Cheney.
But I'm with Hugh Douglas. The tasing was justified. A teeneager
running loose on a ballfield is no frail grandmother giving lip to a
cop at a
traffic stop. He's a random unknown obviously in good enough physical
shape that tackling him could cause injury to the tacklers and clearly
fit enough not to be grievously injured by a taser. A dog running wild
on a baseball field is funny. A drunk jerk running wild on the same
field is annoying and potentially
dangerous. Also upsetting to one of the flightier star pitchers in
baseball, Cole Hamels. Which is why I'm prepared to thank GWB and
Cheney for tasing the dumb sonofabitch even if he meant no harm. Maybe
he's learned not to do it again. That would be a good thing.
I mean, some tasings are good
things. That's what got me to thinking about the role tasers might play in big-time sports.
They're decisive, to be sure, but not necessarily official or even a
penalty. The way the target hits the ground is more cancellation than
sentence. It's just an abrupt way of saying "Stop it. This is
unacceptable." It interrupts time when the time that is going on is bad
behavior. It allows time to resume its normal course when the
unacceptable has been removed from the field of action.
There are quite a few things in sports that should be stopped without
making a big deal of them otherwise. Without fines, team punishments,
stoppages of play, or other sanctions. Things that rules haven't been
very good at preventing. Stop the offender cold in his
tracks and resume play as if nothing had happened. Without remark,
rules changes, or note of any kind. Others tempted to imitate the
offender might take the lesson and refrain in future. I've compiled a
few examples of where tasers could have a very positive impact on
sports. See if you agree.
NFL Football. We've all grown
used to silly touchdown celebrations. But
who isn't irritated by losing teams whose defensive players make a
tackle and then expend energy they obviously need to keep their team in
the game stomping around in personal glory over a single second-down
stop on their own 20 yard line?
lots of these are TDs, but not all of them. Even so, tase'em.
NFL referees should just tase these idiots and have them dragged
quietly off the field to the locker room. (Idiot owners
should be treated the same way, regardless of income or age.)
Major League Baseball.
Fan interference can change a game, a series, a season. As it did with
Cubs in 2003. Fans like this shouldn't have fifteen minutes
of fame. They should be absented from the moment and forgotten.
your hands, everybody who thinks shock treatment wouldn't improve this guy's
There's another MLB example on my mind, but I'll save it for later.
Soccer (i.e., Third World Football).
This is the most over-hyped, least
intrinsically intriguing, most
boring team sport in the world. Nothing
could make it a good game, but one thing that could be improved by
vigorous tasing is the pansy practice of pretending to be injured for
the purpose of drawing the referee "yellow cards" that decide most
Soccer refs? Put away the damn red and yellow cards. Tase these phony
creeps and make them play their damn
nil-nil game like men.
NHL Hockey. Speaking of men.
There was a time when The
Hockey was played by men. Now they have
helmets, visors, and method acting degrees.
Hockey refs are tough. Remind
the players of Gordie Howe and Bobby Hull by tasing them when they act
NBA Basketball. Or is this the
No. Lesbians are tougher. But the NBA con
Boxing. It's been on a downhill path for a long time. Ring refs
know when to stop a fight suddenly "by accident" rather than perpetuate
an official travesty.
Truthfully, I'm ready for boxing to be banned. Tasing is far more
humane than what they do to each other for paychecks that are stolen
from them by everyone. (Yes, I'm becoming Howard Cosell. Proudly.) Just
tase both fighters when they enter the ring. Much better outcome all
Though there is a syndrome related to professional golf that does
require tasing. It's hinted at here. And here.
You see? Tasing would be much kinder. No one's seeking senseless
bloodshed here. (Although I am rooting for the Hell's Angels to get the
first crack at this particular problem, even before my own suggested
Finally. As a baseball fan, I really wanted to find some way to bring
the taser solution into the problem of homeplate umpires who can't call
balls and strikes better than a blind man staring in the opposite
direction from the pitcher. I had ideas, struggled with the 'who'
problem on taser
control, and was innovating a fan-held remote taser option when I
stumbled across this:
Okay. I admit it. Referee type jobs are difficult. Lots of
instantaneous judgments required. Something like cops have to deal with
in public safety situations. Maybe, just maybe, the decisions should be
left to the professionals. And if and when we second guess those
decisions, perhaps we should give them the benefit of the doubt. Unless
we're Rob Charry. In which case we can be certain Tiger Woods was never
an athlete and Richard Petty was just a redneck with a cowboy hat and a
heavy throttle foot. You know. Expertise.
. I wasn't going to touch this. I
honestly don't care who's a Lesbian and who isn't. Until people who are
trying to influence appointment decisions care. That's when I start to
take notice. The only thing I have against Lesbians is their personal
conversations. Which in my experience has always been, exclusively,
about the most boring subject I've ever heard tell of, namely, uh,
I didn't bring this up today. Michael Smerconish did. The former
Republican who discovered late last year that Hope and Change mattered
more to him than a lifetime of conservative principles. God bless his
little, little heart and smaller brain.
Since then I've pretty much avoided his early morning radio show.
Correction. Since then I've avoided his radio show like the plague. But
I had to get gas for the mower this morning and suddenly there he was
on the car radio. He was working a poll he'd thought of about who we
good Americans wanted as the next Supreme Court justice:
not kidding. This is Smerconish's poll.
The only part I heard was an interview with his new liberal friend Alan
Dershowitz, who testified to the fact that Elena Kagan was a moderate's
moderate (which must have made Smerconish beam) and that she was a
poker player who never bluffed. (He conspicuously didn't say she was a good poker player.)
Anyway, Smerconish subjected Dershowitz to his poll question, and
Dershowitz to his credit ignored it completely in favor of clicheed
attributes like learning, judgment, neutrality, objectivity, and
fidelity to the law. With time out for an advertisement about how gay
the Israeli army is, which should tell us backward Americans something
because the Israeli army is the best in the world. (Excuse me. Isn't
the Israeli army the one that got its pansy ass kicked by hamas and
hizbollah a couple years ago and crawled back home with their tail
between their legs while the U.S. Army was winning the surge in Iraq?
uh, no? Okay. Smerconish didn't object either.)
Our moderate hero Smerconish, fixated on his post-Republican obsession
with diversity, devoted himself to sucking up to Dershowitz and only at
the last minute forced himself to pose the "L" question. Dershowitz
denied it. Awwwww.
Where we are. Smerconish, of course, is a fool. As he ever was. When
Dershowitz uses the word moderate he's not talking about the phantom
zone of compromise between Barack Obama and Gerald Ford (a.k.a. Oz).
He's talking about the Harvard Law School, where the left is
busily engineering legal lightning to reanimate the mummy of Lenin and
the right is standing on the U.S. Constitution to keep their feet off
the pigshit while they write a brand new constitution on the barn wall,
beginning with the part about how all animals are equal, only some
animals are more equal than others.
I'm sick to death of fools. Especially sick of those who pretend to be
humble while with every breath they proclaim their superiority in every
sense they value. Look at Smerconish's last choice: A Great Heart. What
the fuck does that mean? Is that the Smerconish seat? I suspect so.
But why do we need yet another bullet head telling us what to do, how
we should feel, and why what we know is completely wrong?
What's a bullet head, you ask? I'm not smart enough to answer that. Ask
Napolitano, Sotomayor, Kagan, or Smerconish.
bovine, bossy devourers of freedom. They're cows. Lowing in the
When people talk about diversity, why don't they ever talk about the
kind of diversity real people seek out rather than duck around the
corner to avoid? At Big Hollywood
Moriarty called out a demographic I've never heard a liberal, or
even a moderate, pursue for their big tent. And quite correctly, he
called it out as an exclusively American demographic:
Beginning with Ms. [Marilyn] Monroe,
there really are no classic, “dumb blondes” in Europe.
“Dumb blonde” is an exclusively American label.
However, no “dumb blonde” has ever or will ever receive so much
attention from world renowned intellectuals, male and female, as
Norman Mailer, Arthur Miller, Joyce Carol Oates, Lee and Paula
Strasberg and, of course, the Kennedys.
Liberals all. If they're so damned anxious for us to compromise, I'll
compromise that way on this Supreme Court seat. I'd take the judgments
of dumb blondes I've known over every liberal I've ever met.
They tend not to be arrogant, resentful little phonies. And
they're never bullet heads.
That's good enough for me. It's about the
most we can hope for these days.