Instapun*** Archive Listing

Archive Listing
August 11, 2010 - August 4, 2010

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Time Capsule

A teaser for a book we still can't show you. But we're working on it.

FOLLOWUP.  We discovered by accident that thanks to the Wayback Machine, a lot of Shuteye Nation is still available through the infamous Who'sWho Y2000. Only the graphics files are spotty. But it was always mostly about the writing anyway. So return with us to those thrilling days of yesteryear when "Bil Clitton" was still Presdent and Al Bore and George Hubert Walker Chevy Snaffle Adidas Bush XIV were still campaigning to replace him. A lot of the links still work, including the ones (indicated by a degree sign; you know, a tiny superscript circle) to the infamous Glossary, the utterly awful Foreign Gazetteer, and others.

We urge you to take a look -- well, really to plunge in whole hog and wallow around, for hours -- because it's the best evidence available that our perceptions and predictions tend to be right, even over a span of ten years. It's also, if we can be pardoned for some self-promotion, very damn funny.

And it's a damn sight less depressing than today's Drudge Report. Nobody had heard of Obama back then. Even us. Doesn't that tell you something?


Tell me you're not thinking about it too.

D-DAY PLUS 66. When they're out of power, Democrats want to turn every war into Vietnam. They're always wrong. What turns a war into Vietnam is Democrats in power. They're the ones who stop trying to win and who allow our troops to be sacrificed for nothing while they fiddle and fret and fulminate. Because they're also the ones who don't care at all about our troops except as props for their posturing. I just got an email from a sometime contributor I can't disagree with. I won't name him because I didn't ask permission to print what he said. (All my contributors know I feel free to post their emails, but let him identify himself if he wants to.) But here it is.

I'm still reading Junger's "War", but it's slow going. It's hard for me to read a lot of it at once because I can't help thinking that we're wasting our time in Afghanistan. We shouldn't have troops over there. Instead, we should drop as much nuclear ordinance as is needed to make the entire country radioactive for the next 100 years. That will also take care of the poppy growing problem. Then let more populous arab nations fight amongst each other for who gets to host the next Taliban training camp, thus earning the honor of being the next area to glow in the dark for a century.

Was the decision to nuke Japan, twice, really any different? We can dick around in the Afghan mountains, fighting a war of attrition and putting our bravest soldiers at risk with objectives and ROE that change with every shift in political power back home. Or we can drop some ordinance one time and not look back. I got really sad last night reading about how this SSG Rougle died, possibly executed by a shot through the forehead, when a US position was overrun. He was seen as a legendary super soldier and one of his men broke down and started crying in the middle of battle when he realized Rougle was dead. Then the entire mission changed to trying to prevent the enemy (nobody even knew where they were or which direction they went) from reaching a nearby village with the equipment that was looted off of Rougle's body because they might use it for propaganda, and once they reached the village they could blend in with the local population. So you've got howitzers, Apaches, A-10s, and a whole gaggle of troops on a mountainside scrambling to recover some weapons and NVGs because if the bad guys make it to the village, we can't risk upsetting the civilians to get the gear back.

What a fucking joke. Nuke them all and keep our military ready for a tougher threat, like the Chinese. Because as soon as Haji gets a suitcase nuke, he won't think twice about using it on us.

I have nothing to add.

YouTube Afternoon

. Yeah, I had some free time for a change. So I skidded across YouTube. I'm reminded again of how much music I like, even though I rarely listen anymore. I'm a wanton. I like classical, opera, jazz, fifties stuff, Motown, Broadway, Sinatra, rock, pop, rap, country, and even easy listening. Mostly, music is about love. I'm so easy it's embarrassing. But here's the thing that struck me today. Lorrie Morgan was married to Keith Whitley. She loved him but he killed himself anyway. That's not how it's supposed to go. But sometimes life and art intersect. That's when it hurts the most. Whitley recorded this just before he died.

Are there things that get to you? Tell me.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Flotsam and Jitsm

Be patient. I'll get to it. I promise.

EMERGENCY BUTTON (If you need it). Every once in a while we do a blog-type blog entry like most people do, taking credit for noticing what's going on, with nothing personal to add but a wry quip at the beginning or the end. Call us lazy, but you have no idea how much effort is involved in scanning the Intertubes for links that are, well, wry quip material. Especially when the normal IP inclination is toward a machete, only in reverse, if you know what I mean. And who cares if you don't?

Be that as it may. I'm doing my best. Think of this as IP's version of the measured, friendly, bloggery of Instadumb**it. It's just pointing and wrying for a day. Like the good guys we are I am..

NBC BLINKS: No more Olbermann on NBC Sunday Night Football, the network that's presently crowing like crazy that it is "more colorful:"

Liberal cable news talker Keith Olbermann has been benched from NBC's Sunday night NFL broadcasts this season, according to various reports.

The move, originally reported by SportsByBrooks last week, was apparently no reflection of his political views, but the gig conflicted with his daily MSNBC broadcast. Olbermann, 51, had taken an occasional Friday off to focus on NBC's pre-game show, something his bosses at NBC News weren't keen on.

The New York Post reported NBC officials told reporters that Olbermann's left-leaning political views had nothing to do with the move. Olbermann, who rose to the national scene as a co-anchor for ESPN's "SportsCenter," had been a part of NBC's football broadcast -- termed "Football Night in America" -- in some capacity since 2007.

Olbermann, who was paired with fellow "SportsCenter" expatriate Dan Patrick, did lace some of his sports takes with politics, including a minor ribbing of former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin. [Ya think?]

Like nobody at NBC noticed that the ratings fell like a rock ("30 Rock"?) when last year's telecasts went to halftime. Right. How smart does a network executive have to be to detect that pissing off at least half your audience isn't the best possible move in sports coverage?

DOG BITES MAN: Almost two years into his presidency, The One is still snivelling about his predecessor:

Obama attacks Bush policies in Bush's home state

Obama hammers Bush's "disastrous" economic policies

By Ross Colvin

AUSTIN, Texas, Aug 9 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama attacked the economic policies of his Republican predecessor George W. Bush in Bush's home state on Monday as evidence of the way Republicans would operate if given power in Nov. 2 U.S. congressional elections.

At a fund-raising event for Democrats in Dallas, where Bush now lives, Obama said the former president's "disastrous" policies had driven the U.S. economy into the ground and turned budget surpluses into deficits.

Obama defended his repeated references to Bush's policies, saying they were necessary to remind Americans of the weak economy he inherited from Bush in January 2009.

"The policies that crashed the economy, that undercut the middle class, that mortgaged our future, do we really want to go back to that, or do we keep moving our country forward?" Obama said at another fund-raising event in Austin, referring to Bush's eight years as president.

In reminding voters about the policies of the unpopular Bush, Obama is trying to protect his fellow Democrats' majorities in Congress and limit anticipated Republican gains.

Good luck with that. Louis XIV tried blaming Louis XIII too. Pretty sure that didn't work, either. And excuse me, but what's so 'cool' about this strategy? Did Pacino blame anything on Brando in Godfather II? Maybe he was thinking of the famous scene in which Brando exploded, "Be a man!" Advice worth considering, we'd say.

RIFT IN THE GLOBAL MSM: Even the Brits are noticing that the American mainstream media are a bunch of lame, lazy, ass-kissers:

The Obama presidency increasingly resembles
a modern-day Ancien Régime: extravagant and
out of touch with the American people

What the great French historian Alexis de Tocqueville would make of today’s Obama administration were he alive today is anyone’s guess. But I would wager that the author of L’Ancien Régime and Democracy in America would be less than impressed with the extravagance and arrogance on display among the White House elites that rule America as though they had been handed some divine right to govern with impunity.

It is the kind of impunity that has been highlighted on the world stage this week by Michelle Obama’s hugely costly trip to Spain...

The timing of this lavish European vacation could not have come at a worse moment, when unemployment in America stands at 10 percent, and large numbers of Americans are fighting to survive financially in the wake of the global economic downturn. It sends a message of indifference, even contempt, for the millions of Americans who are struggling just to feed their families on a daily basis and pay the mortgage, while the size of the national debt balloons to Greek-style proportions.

While the liberal-dominated US mainstream media have largely ignored the story, it is all over the blogosphere and talk radio, and will undoubtedly add to the President’s free falling poll ratings. As much as the media establishment turn a blind eye to stories like this, which are major news in the international media, the American public is increasingly turning to alternative news sources, including the British press, which has a far less deferential approach towards the White House...

When Americans "turn to the British press," shouldn't that be a wakeup call for their betters in the States? Nah. They are the unchanging hope that went down the drain a long long time ago.

MUSLIM TO THE RIGHT OF BLOOMBERG & O'REILLY: Just love this one because O'Reilly is such an ass. He's so determined to be the open-minded middle-of-the-road "traditionalist" that he utterly fails to see when events have passed him by. This is the ONE time I have seen him nonplussed into breaking his unthinking pose that he's the one who speaks for "the folks."


ROSABUD BACK IN THE NEWS: Pardon a bit of self-promotion here. Back in 2000, there was and Shuteye Nation, where we had this to say about someone(s):

Rosabud. Leading real-sized° TV talk show host. Didn't she used to have a sitcom, where she was fat and loud and obnoxious to everybody? Well, now she does it on her talk show, except she's only fat and loud and obnoxious to people who are part of the vast right wing conspiracy°, because there are so many people out there who need the kind of political°° [crap] you can only get from a turd in a pantsuit.

Now she's back in the news. Twice. There's this:

George Bush, in the middle of a war, had an all-station news conference to announce how horrible it was for the safety of America that gay people were getting married in San Francisco, which pissed me off enough to get on a plane and go get married.

And this:

Israel: What a vile and hideous country. I have reached the point, after reading today’s news where I can really no longer support in any way anything having to do with Israel or its apologists.  I know that this means I will most likely never work in US media again.  I have tried to navigate my way through attempting to be a person of moral courage and a performer in the US.  I have come to the realization that there is just no way to  remain mute on the subject of the horrid oppression by Israel of its neighbors and workers and have any conscience at all.

We think she's still a turd in a pantsuit.

A SERIOUS (but hilarious) PROPOSITION: What wasn't around back in 2000 was Greg Gutfeld. We're happy about the progress he represents. Here's something this normally mosquito-weight scamp appears to be serious about:

I’m announcing tonight, that I am planning to build and open the first gay bar that caters not only to the west, but also Islamic gay men. To best express my sincere desire for dialogue, the bar will be situated next to the mosque Park51, in an available commercial space.

This is not a joke. I’ve already spoken to a number of investors, who have pledged their support in this bipartisan bid for understanding and tolerance.

As you know, the Muslim faith doesn’t look kindly upon homosexuality, which is why I’m building this bar. It is an effort to break down barriers and reduce deadly homophobia in the Islamic world.

The goal, however, is not simply to open a typical gay bar, but one friendly to men of Islamic faith. An entire floor, for example, will feature non-alcoholic drinks, since booze is forbidden by the faith. The bar will be open all day and night, to accommodate men who would rather keep their sexuality under wraps – but still want to dance.

Bottom line: I hope that the mosque owners will be as open to the bar, as I am to the new mosque. After all, the belief driving them to open up their center near Ground Zero, is no different than mine.

My place, however, will have better music.

No, Gutfeld isn't gay. He pants too much in the presence of his female guests on Redeye for that. But he's hit on a new idea, I think. Satire acted out, invested in, made real in an insane reality. Wish I'd thought of it first.

Which is the end of our blog-type blog entry. Except for the footnotes. Any time you challenge the left anymore, you have to have footnotes. I have one. I guess that's the minimum.
FOOTNOTE. I suppose there are those who think the Barney Frank video above merits a post of its own. I disagree. Even if the whole purpose of this post was to get, finally, to Barney Frank, that wouldn't make him any more than a footnote in American history. You can do a LOT of damage without being more than a footnote. To transcend that status, you have to have some actual stature. You know. Character. Wisdom. Or at least tragically wrong convictions. You can't just be the living embodiment of every stereotype associated with the monolithic identity you choose to inflict on everyone. So here's our Barney Frank footnote. 

THE STEREOTYPE'S STEREOTYPE: So what do gay men want that we can all agree they might deserve? That they be freed from the cartoon notion that if they're not effeminate, victim nonentities, they're shrill, vicious, conniving composites of all that is worst in both sexes, with the arrogantly predatory instincts of  a male with a grudge and the poisonous, eternal, criminal resentments of a female scorned. Welcome to Barney Frank. This choleric, corrupt, delusional, self-ordained Poof Pontiff of the Congress is the worst possible advertisement ever for the cause he purports to believe in most. He's nothing but a rutting hog with a snarling lisp and a liar's preference for the pigpen from which he hurls the dung he's spent his life squeezing into the shape of Massachussetts rhetoric

Yeah. Nobody else will say it. I will. He's the best argument against gay rights alive on the planet. Compare the gotcha video up top with this account from Jonathan Alter's suckbutt paean to Obama, The Promise:

At the Washington Independent Aaron Weiner highlights another F-bomb festival, this time from a September 2008 meeting that included House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D - Mass.), Obama, John McCain, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and President Bush.

Frank was apparently incensed at Paulson's attempt to stop Democrats from criticizing the huge plan to bailout the financial sector -- in fact, it was Republicans who balked, Weiner observes. Here's Frank's blowup at Paulson:

Barney Frank muscled his way past Harry Reid and started yelling. "F-- you, Hank! F-- you! Blow up this deal? We didn't blow up this deal! Your guys blew up the deal! You better tell [GOP Rep. Spencer] Bacchus and the rest of them to get their s-- together!"

Hardly an exception. The public record is stuffed with his vulgarity, sanctimony, venom, overflowing rage, sense of superiority, and utter, utter personal and political corruption . (Go here, here, here, here, here, and here.)

This from a man who should have been tossed out of the Congress for personal ethics violations long before he betrayed his office in matters of state.

Shortly after coming out, Frank met and began dating Herb Moses, an economist and LGBT activist; their relationship lasted for eleven years until an amicable break-up in July 1998... Moses, who was an executive at Fannie Mae from 1991 to 1998, was the first partner of an openly gay member of Congress to receive spousal benefits and the two were considered "Washington's most powerful and influential gay couple


NEW YORK (CNN) -- Troubled mortgage giant Fannie Mae planned to pay four top executives retention bonuses ranging from $470,000 to $611,000, according to a February SEC filing.

Executive vice presidents Kenneth Bacon, David Hisey, Michael Williams and Thomas Lund will be receiving bonuses of close to half a million dollars each. Bacon supervises community development for the company, Hisey is its deputy chief financial officer, Williams is its COO and Lund oversees the single-family mortgage business.

By contrast, Fannie Mae CFO David Johnson received no bonus on top of his salary of $625,000, while CEO Herb Allison received no compensation or bonuses in 2008 or 2009.

A spokesman for Fannie Mae deferred comment on the bonuses to the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

The bonuses were necessary to keep Fannie's most experienced executives working to reverse the effects of the mortgage crisis, FHFA Director James B. Lockhart told CNN.

But he's escaped all accountability for his turpitude because he's gay, hostile, and vicious? Sometimes, stereotypes rule. But gays shouldn't be surprised that straights are still resistant to their demands for surrender across the board. Who wants to surrender anything to the Barney Franks of the world? They don't even deserve accommodation. They deserve to be locked up.

ANTIDOTE:  No. We don't -- I don't -- hate gay people. I just hate whores, manipulators, crooks, and bullies of every stripe. That's not who most gay people are. At all. So let me leave you with scenes from a movie I genuinely liked, with no inclination to feel that I was being patronizing. I'd have enjoyed being at that dinner party. Not kidding. Here's some background and the scene I'll leave you with:

Night all.

Monday, August 09, 2010

A Bi-Polar Exercise

DONE THIS BEFORE. God bless C-Span. On the same day this weekend, the network featured book tour presentations by the authors of The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration's War on America and Common Nonsense: Glenn Beck and the Triumph of Ignorance. I doubt you'll read either, though you Ayn Rand fans may be more tempted to the former by the fact that one of its co-authors, Pamela Geller, is the leading light behind She's fun to watch, if a bit more shotgun than rifle, but I was more intrigued by Alexander Zaitchik, the contemning voice of the Glenn Beck book. I think it's fair to say he's a lot more disrespectful to Beck than Geller is to Obama. I found his Amazon bio and (some) more elsewhere about his past endeavors, read the "Look Inside" excerpts, and then examined the Amazon customer reviews of his first magnum opus.

Which, more than anything else, is what I want to share with you today. That's why I call it an exercise. Amazon customer reviews are one of my favorite forms of polling. Not because they're scientific. Quantitatively, statistically, they mean nothing. Qualitatively, they mean a lot. The sample always represents those with the strongest opinions. We get to see how they think, what they regard as evidence for their opinions, and how cogently, factually, and persuasively they make their case. When the subject of a book is politics, it's usually those with the greatest personal, emotional animus regarding a subject or author who predominate. Curiously, this means that if there is a numbers game of sorts in the Amazon jungle, it's often the case there are more irrational, hysterical, dismissible reviews than rational, measured ones.

I know that Beck is controversial on the right as well as the left. That's why I thought it would be fun to have you look through the reader reviews. Will they make you more or less likely to look more deeply into what it is Beck is actually saying. I'm suggesting you take in the whole population of reviews presented, but I'm giving you two right here to get you started: One five-star rave and one one-star pan.

119 of 154 people found the following review helpful:
***** Portrait of a Dangerous Lunatic, May 10, 2010
By  Terry Sunday (El Paso, Texas United States) - See all my reviews
There's no denying that political discourse in America today is more rancorous and uncivil than at any previous time in our history. There's no denying that misinformed talk-show demagogues and their fawning followers have hijacked key debates about national issues, and drown out the voices of thoughtful moderates with their strident, ignorant clamor. And there's no doubt that the broadcast media has played a major role in amping up the hype over controversial issues in their endless quest for ratings at the expense of truth, accuracy, balance and integrity.

"Common Nonsense: Glenn Beck and the Triumph of Ignorance," paints an appalling portrait of one of the darlings of today's paranoid, fact-challenged, know-nothing, right-wing political fringe. In this review, I won't summarize Beck's rise to prominence--I find him too thoroughly detestable to be worth that unpleasant task. But I will say that this book chronicles that rise in clear, chilling, footnoted detail, using primary sources that leave no doubt that this is an accurate picture of the man. That his racist, bigoted, militaristic, hyper-religious, fact-free, self-serving bombast has any appeal at all for any Americans is a sad statement on the extent to which willful ignorance has today become a virtue. That Beck, and others of his ilk, continue to draw oblivious, adoring listeners into their hate-filled fantasy worlds testifies to the immense power of the modern media, a power that Nazi propaganda minister the late Dr. Josef Goebbels would envy. That they continue to do so also shows the distressing triumph of mindless entertainment over factual substance. "Common Nonsense" tells the story of how this condition came to be, in a highly readable, fast-paced, compelling, disturbing narrative that would be hard to believe in some places if it weren't true.

Some books self-limit themselves to readers in certain demographic niches. If you hang on every hateful word of Beck, Hannity and Limbaugh, you need not waste your money or time on "Common Nonsense." Make no mistake about it--this is not a complimentary book. If, on the other hand, you take pride in being open-minded, want to know some of the story behind modern American demagoguery and seek to get a look at the thought processes that motivate the knee-jerk radical right, it is a must-read. I recommend it most highly to every intelligent, thoughtful American who cares about the nation's future. Dittoheads and extremist wackos need not apply...

36 of 128 people found the following review helpful: 
* Worthless tripe, June 4, 2010
By  _porterhouse "_porterhouse" (Los Angeles, CA) - See all my reviews

This book purports to be an examination of the phenomenon that is Glenn Beck. It begins with the unquestioned premise that Glenn Beck is, self-evidently, (1) corrupt, (2) immoral, (3) ignorant, and (4) wrong.

It then moves through most of the principal fallacies in formal logic in supporting, or "proving", that which it presumes via "examinations" of central episodes in Beck's life. Character assassination, red herrings, straw men, you name it, they're all here in plentiful supply. In fact, they're all that's here.

In the end, all it boils down to is the following:

Beck is wrong because he is wrong.
Beck is a liar because he is a liar.
Beck is corrupt because he is corrupt.
Beck is immoral because he is immoral.

This makes for a highly convincing, enormously satisfying read for everyone who agrees with the aforementioned premise. In addition to being a masterstroke of tautology, it is successful as a screed, a veritable festival of tantrum, a juicy slice of propaganda.

But it makes for a worthless bit of tripe as concerning an honest, objective examination of the man and his message. This is precisely as you might expect, given the threat that message poses to the millions whose very livelihoods depend upon the status quo. The status quo in which 300 million Americans are pitted against each other as the massive apparatus of the state is constructed and extended, and in which the foundations of country are gutted and/or abandoned. 

I'm not trying to prejudice you, but if you'd like a bit more info about the author, go here and here.

Read on. Then tell me what you've learned.

Islamic Legends

Yeah, we used to be paranoid too. Back before Mayor Bloomberg set us straight.
We thought there'd be two Osama towers. Just one is supposed to be better. Cool.

. There's a show I've seen called Urban Legends. They spell out a few wild internet legends and then invite you to decide which ones are true and which aren't. That's what we're doing here today.

True or false?

1. The Ground Zero Mosque design was actually modelled on Stanley Kubrick's threatening monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Sharia gonna get'ya, soonah or lateh.

2. The Shanksville, Pennsylvania, memorial for Flight 93 is really an Islamic star-and crescent design that aims the properly placed observer at Mecca.

Many of you were outraged in 2005 when the Crescent of Embrace design was unveiled to be a half-mile wide Islamic shaped crescent:

Crescent publicity shot and Islamic crescent and star
Left: 2005 publicity shot of the Crescent of Embrace design.
Right: typical Islamic crescent and star, viewed from a similar angle.

Few people know that this giant crescent actually points to Mecca, or understand the religious significance of this orientation. A crescent that points the direction to Mecca is a very familiar construct in the Islamic world. Because Muslims face Mecca for prayer, every mosque is built around a Mecca direction indicator called a mihrab. The classic mihrab is crescent shaped.

3. The Freedom Tower, planned replacement for the demolished World Trade Center, will ultimately be at least partially financed and run by Arab money.

The construction of the Freedom Tower, a 1,776-foot office tower that will be built at Ground Zero is back on track and the bidding process involves two companies, Durst Organization and Related Companies.

Fox News legal analyst Peter Johnson reported on the status of this project on the Fox News program, Fox & Friends Monday morning.

Johnson reported on the financial dealings of Related Companies and its ties with the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, the Saudi Arabian royal family and to fifteen financiers based in Dubai.

The partner will invest at least $100 million into the office tower and memorial building.

4. The Spanish vacation trip over Obama's birthday was actually an excuse for Mrs. Obama and her daughter to pay a visit to one of the greatest mosques in the world, the one in Cordoba.

Cordoba is gorgeous, of course. Like the fashions of Michelle and her daughter.
The latter are by noted couturier Xchristian LaCroix, who designed these outfits
befitting the (female) First Family's obeisance to the Moorish Conquest of Spain.

5. The International Freedom Center planned for the exact site of Ground Zero is really a nod to Sharia by U.S. and western hating leftists who wish to mock 9/11 by memorializing its destroyers. A typical screed:

By the time they have completed reconfiguring the Ground Zero project's architecture and content, the place will be absolutely 100 percent safe. There will no longer be any doubt that however much foreign insurgents may hate America, it's nothing compared to how much elite and powerful Americans hate America. This has to be an enormously effective deterrent to further acts of violence in the city whose most powerful people lead the world in hatred of this country. That's why the over-engineered tower described in the piece referenced above will never be built. It just won't be needed. The whole idea of a single fake-me-out tower with 50 stories of panic room office bunkers and 50 stories of uninhabited, bomb-repellent gridwork can be tossed in the trash where it belongs. New Yorkers will be able to go all the way to the tippy top of the new twin towers design that will soon be unveiled by Soros and company. What do you think of it

6.  The next really big architectural project planned for a major American city is the new CAIR (Council on American-Islomaic Relations) headquarters building, which will be built northeast of the Pentagon. 

The red-highlighted part is the planned new construction. It's
only an accident that a pentagon also describes a star. Right?

You can vote in the Comments section. We'll announce the winners and losers later.

P.S. I'm not proposing a conspiracy here. I'm reminding you all of a tactic. Isn't that what we keep telling ourselves is wrong with the designation 'War on Terror'? That it substitutes a tactic for an enemy we dare not name? Well, we should be mindful of tactics regardless of what kind of war we're in or pretend we're not in. The tactic is "Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer." If you're really aggressive, you don't even let your enemies breathe because you're so close.

I'm from the country. We have a greater critical distance than most of you. That is, you get too close and we back away or make YOU back away. What we country folk have noticed about middle easterners. They stand too close to you in the subway, in line, and in every other situation too. You city people may be inured to it. You're so close to everyone every day you create the necessary distance by living your lives looking at the sidewalk or sucking on your cellphones. We aren't inured to it. There isn't anyone in any tavern or pool hall in south Jersey who doesn't know that the guy who stands too close to you is preying on you or seeking to dominate you. That's when we push back. Sometimes very damn hard.

But we're rednecks. You're the quality. Precisely the people we have to pick up and cart to the hospital after you've misunderstood the body language in a real-world bar or ballpark.

Final point. We don't spend our days looking at the sidewalk or muttering into cellphones. Maybe if you could break that habit in yourselves, you'd stop being such dim-witted wimp bitches for all the predators who keep bending you over the barrier and... well, you know.

With all due respect.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Harry's Birthday.

We got a tribute via email. Matt says it's right. YOU make sense of it.

NED.4.4-7. It's all supposed to be over. The Boomer Bible is supposed to be out of print. It isn't. It's supposed to be off the Internet and forgotten. It isn't. And the people who loved and learned from the book are supposed to have outgrown it and moved on. They haven't. Instead there's a new Instapunk Forum devised by the same people who quarrelled unto death in the old Boomer Bible Forum. The Punks of Punk City are still roaming South Street. And I just received a birthday salutation for Harry from one of the most talented and querulous of the original members. He said, "Happy Birthday, Harry." He's the one who sent the video up top.

What does this mean? Nothing. Only that Harry is 65 now, ready to retire into Obamatopia -- if he weren't already in Rio. I got a text message from him today. It read: STILL HERE. STILL THE ONE YOU'VE BEEN WAITING FOR. But that's all I've heard from him. Our last Word from Harry was what he posted on his sixtieth birthday. You be the judge:

From the Psongs Of Harry...
2    I have broken you, ignored you, killed you,
3    But you do not fade away; you turn toward me in my dreams as you never did in fact,
4    And I am not shocked or shamed,
5    But matter of fact;
6    We are the same cup, drunk by different faces.
7     Some are poisoned, some are fed,
8     Some are, of course, indifferent or indignant.
9     I have looked into your cup, you into mine;
10     My liquor is older than yours, and younger.
11     What I see in its liquid skin is the world of me,
12     Me a transparent tattoo on its slippery flesh,
13     All evaporating, waiting to be consumed,
14     Pregnant intoxicant mirage.
15     But when I ask you to look,
16     You see you, the shimmering skin of a world ago,
17     And there I am only an unreflected memory of mine.
18     Why, then, do you smile in my dreams?
19     Is that my memory again, my wish, my punishment?
20     Or is it the blending, at last, of the dregs of our final draught?

I could give up sleeping,
2    But for the alarm of morning,
3    Which wants to surprise us awake,
4    With a brand new ancient lesson.
5     Every morning is everywhere,
6     The center of being undraped and unafraid,
7     On display for its satellites.
8     When I was in Rio, I flung open the broad smiling horizon built upon my balcony,
9     And I squinted the darkness away.
10     Today I roll out under the roof of morning,
11     Trusting a sun I can’t see,
12     Imagining the boastful light above the trusses and timbers and shingles of our conceits,
13     But I do not dare to look at the blush of retreating night,
14     That pink behind we all must show,
15     In impotent flight.
16     Darkness always loses courage in the end,
17     And dawn wins every day.
18     So must I,
19     But more slowly now than then,
20     When I was young.

We're guessing he's still with us. Swallowing his ire. He never once used a teleprompter. But, Lord, he looked good in a suit. Halleluiah.

Word is, Harry had this guy 'disappeared' from his ordinary life because he was so damned good. We hear his days now consist of rum and string bikinis. In Rio. Where we will all meet one day. Later.


PUPDATE. No, he's not Psmith. It takes a while to become a deerhound. Phases, don't you know. At the moment he's an Ent.  Legs like oak saplings powered by a baby's brain. He just had his first physical at the vet. Five months old and fifty pounds. (Yes, yes, yes, they loved him at the vet's office... especially the doc who tried to save Psmith. Enough said.) But he's still a baby, albeit a baby with only three housebreaking accidents to his name in a month. And a fairly long list of chewing casualties. Because he's just a baby with molars coming in. He likes everything that squeaks.

He's already learned some commands: NO!!!; Drop it; Down; HEY!; I MEAN RIGHT NOW, MISTER; and Sit. See?

He's a good boy. He loves his greyhounds. He kisses them good morning every day. He hates it when his mom goes off to work.You know. Life is wonderful, but it would be even better if mom were here with me all the time. That kind of thing.

Yeah. No red-eye. Never could figure that out. It's a deerhound thing.

But when it's just the two of us, me typing and him chewing and squeaking everything in sight, we get to be grave Scots, on top of the universe. The way Scots always are.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Professor Brainbridge

Just a reminder of how the nation voted in 2008.
We're the blue. They're the yellow and brown. It
WASN'T really a landslide. We really are allowed
to push back with all the breadth of our diversity.

PSOMETHINGS.6.1-7. I read this post by "Professor Bainbridge" yesterday. Thought about commenting on it and decided against. Its centerpiece is a list of the reasons why an eminent conservative law professor is embarrassed to be a conservative these days. Here's the list, consisting of a conveniently Letterman-like ten items:

   1. A poorly educated ex-sportwriter [sic[ who served half of one term of an [sic] minor state governorship is prominently featured as a -- if not the -- leading prospect for the GOP's 2012 Presidential nomination.
   2. Tom Tancredo calling President Obama “the greatest threat to the United States today" and arguing that he be impeached. Bad public policy is not a high crime nor a misdemeanor, and the casual assertion that pursuing liberal policies--however misguided--is an impeachable offense is just nuts.
   3. Similar nonsense from former Ford-Reagan treasury department officials Ernest Christian and Gary Robbins, who IBD column was [sic[, as Doug Marconis observed, "a wildly exaggerated attack on President Obama’s record in office." Actually, it's more foaming at the mouth.
   4. As Doug also observed, "The GOP controlled Congress from 1994 to 2006: Combine neocon warfare spending with entitlements, farm subsidies, education, water projects and you end up with a GOP welfare/warfare state driving the federal spending machine." Indeed, "when the GOP took control of Congress in 1994, and the White House in 2000, the desire to use the levers of power to create “compassionate conservatism” won our [sic] over any semblance of fiscal conservatism. Instead of tax cuts and spending cuts, we got tax cuts along with a trillion dollar entitlement program, a massive expansion of the Federal Government’s role in education, and two wars. That’s not fiscal conservatism [sic] it is, as others have said, fiscal insanity." Yet, today's GOP still has not articulated a message of real fiscal conservatism.
   5. Thanks to the Tea Party, the Nevada GOP has probably pissed away a historic chance to out=st [sic] Harry Reid. See also Charlie Crist in Florida, Rand Paul in Kentucky, and so on. Whatever happened to not letting perfection be the enemy of the good?
   6. The anti-science and anti-intellectualism that pervade the movement.
   7. Trying to pretend Afghanistan is Obama's war.
   8. Birthers.
   9. Nativists.
  10. The substitution of mouth-foaming, spittle-blasting, rabble-rousing talk radio for reasoned debate. Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, Hugh Hewitt, and even Rush Limbaugh are not exactly putting on Firing Line. Whatever happened to smart, well-read, articulate leaders like Buckley, Neuhaus, Kirk, Jack Kent, Goldwater, and, yes, even Ronald Reagan? [Even Ronald Reagan? How tolerant of you, Professor. Hugh Hewitt is a "spittle-blaster" and Glenn Beck doesn't read? Really?]

Why didn't I comment yesterday? Because I found out about it from Jonah Goldberg, who referenced it in passing after having penned an excellent column about the silliness of the latest snob wave (is there some recurrent loony tide at work here?) waxing nostalgic about William F. Buckley and Irving Kristol as estimable conservatives compared to thugs like Andrew Breitbart and dolts like Sarah Palin. Additionally, a majority of Professor Bainbridge's own commenters had chewed his charges and cheap shots apart one mouthful at a time. He had his champions, of course, but they were either self-professed non-conservatives (er, independents and moderates) or self-congratulating intellectuals of the sort who believe nobody who works for a living listens to Rush Limbaugh but lefty note-takers(!) The Professor is too high and mighty to respond to his commenters, and he had also closed the post to further comments by the time I first saw it. Enough said.

Why bother? Goldberg's summation was really kind of perfect -- a dismissive and diminuendo coda to the Corner post announcing his column:

Meanwhile, Doc Bainbridge was much more taken with David’s piece and offers ten reasons why he finds conservatives and/or Republicans embarrassing these days. I find the list to be pretty unpersuasive.

So I didn't bother. Except that I woke up this morning thinking about it. Something about it was bothering me. Something that nobody else had quite said. But what? I worked through half a dozen permutations of how I could respond, but Goldberg's example was an excellent governor. Whatever the right answer was, it couldn't involve a huge amount of effort. The piece wasn't deserving of much effort. Which is when it hit me. 

What was pissing me off was that this guy presents himself as an intellectual, a teacher, a meticulous thinker. This post exhibited none of that. Even more than its snide and preemptive tone, the piece struck me for its extraordinary carelessness. He wasn't in the classroom, explaining and edifying his audience. He was grading a test on the fly, and a multiple-choice or true-false test at that. One whose questions he hadn't even shown to the people who were failing it with angry red pencil exes in the margin. Anti-science and anti-intellectualism? Nativist? Without a shred of evidence offered about any of these charges? Please. It's a professorial meltdown: "Nobody read the assignment from my book. F's all around." He's so angry and hasty he can't even proofread his tirade. He proved my reading of his tone in his response to the pushback he earned:

Much of the right side of the blogosphere through [SIC!] a collective hissy fit over my post about how its [sic] becoming embarrassing to be associated with the conservative movement. Much of it was stiff [sic] and nonsense. Most of it served just to prove my point about the add [sic] combination of viciousness and vacuity pervasive in today's right. As an old-fashioned conservative whose role models were people like Buckley, Kirk, [even] Reagan, Kemp, and their ilk, I find it off-putting, at best. But I've got too much on my plate to respond item by item. (having three book contracts hanging over one's head may not focus the mind quite so much as the prospect of being hanged, but it's a close second.)

Excuse me? Who's having the hissy fit here? Oh, that's right. The eminence grise who's "got too much on my plate to respond item by item." [No wonder, Even your original items weren't exactly spelled out item by item, if spelled correctly at all.]

Sorry, Professor Brainbridge. This was an obviously (very) slapdash effort that deserved to be attacked, whether there's any substance underlying your spleen or not. When a man who expects to be respected based on his credentials and position tosses off a post unsupported by anything but his credentials and position, he's being a bully. There's no light here. Only the frantically dark energy we've come to expect from the totalitarians of the left. "I know better; you're all fools."

Blogging may be a sideline with the illuminati who presume to do it for the betterment of their inferiors. But it's not to be done lightly, no matter who you are. If you're not going to expend the effort to make your points instead of merely assert them from the high pulpit of your office, don't do it at all. Nobody's the wiser for arrogant, typo-riddled pronouncements unalloyed to explanations or thoughful argumentation. A tantrum is a tantrum, whether the child throwing it (or should that be throughing it?) is a prodigy or an ignorant brat. Because it's impossible to tell the difference. We rightwing morons can get that level of illumination at Ace of Spades, only without the condescension.

Understand me. I'm not accusing Bainbridge of being wrong. He hasn't provided enough evidence to judge, one way or the other. I'm accusing him of being profoundly negligent. As a blogger. If and when he gets around to making an argument, I'll take it apart. Until then, he's just a bombastic academic who dashed off a dumb post without thinking about it.

P.S. I've taken enough heat and abuse for attempting the courtesy of informing other bloggers when I've criticized them here. Besides, I have the hiccups after typing all thos [sic]s. If any of you want to let the good professor know about this post, feel free. Because we all are still free to be conservatives in whatever manner we choose. Don't forget that.

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