September 4, 2010 - August 28, 2010
Saturday, September 04, 2010
SHARE IT W/YOUR FRIENDS. This is a great documentary. And a great
story. A woman named Wilma Stephenson in Philadelphia has transformed
culinary arts into life arts. Her demanding program at Frankford High
School habitually earns her students full and partial scholarships to
college and to promising careers and lives. The movie follows her and
her charges through a single school year, and it's the most inspiring
and moving work of film I've seen in a long long time. Without being
mawkish or even slightly sentimental -- the camera records the tears
and triumphs but never lingers a moment too long -- Pressure Cooker simply observes a
gifted, dedicated teacher in action and the extraordinary impact she
has on the lives of the kids who sign up for her rigorous program.
There is no voiceover narration, no interruption for interviews or
encomiums. There's just the footage of what's going on, from her
kitchen classroom sessions to school events to the home lives of her
stressed but admirable proteges. It's completely extraordinary from
beginning to end.
Forget what you think you know about urban life in cities like
Philadelphia. There are no guns or gangs or crack houses here and none
of the excuses that go with such cliches. Frankford is a poor
neighborhood, and life is tough there, but it's not a wasteland. What
we're privileged to watch is good kids from varying circumstances
struggling not against society in general, but for their own individual dreams,
however improbable. Wilma Stephenson is by turns a taskmaster, a
cheerleader, a mother, a shrewd manipulator, and an indomitable force
of love. Whatever the event, from football games to cheerleader
competitions to the prom to graduation, she is invariably there,
tirelessly there for her kids.
The pacing is masterful. You get to see enough, know enough about
everyone, and the sphere of attention goes way beyond cooking class.
But there's a building sense of real suspense as the graduating class
moves toward a citywide competition that could award the best ones
full-boat scholarships for all four years of college, even as they
juggle the complicated and sometimes crushing demands at home with the
need for disciplined, precise, perseverant study and practice.
Initially, the culinary emphasis seems somewhat trivial weighed against
the burden of real life in Frankford, but you learn -- as the kids
learn -- that success and failure in this realm are both obvious and
subtle. There is a specific result at the end of the effort, and
there's no grading on the curve about an omelette or a shaped cucumber
salad. You do it right or it's a disaster. There's no "good enough" or
"Congratulations for showing up." And there's an etiquette, a
formality, about culinary competition -- attire just so, "Yes, chef,
no, chef" to your judges, and you not only have to cook well, but you
also have to perform cleanly
at every step of the process. One of Wilma's students is a star
defensive tackle on the football team with every expectation of
receiving an athletic scholarship to college. You begin to appreciate
the real depth of his character only when you watch him shave slices of
cucumber with the intensity of a neurosurgeon. Then you connect it to
the devotion with which he escorts his much younger sister to the
school bus every day.
Like the movie, I refuse to preach about what the movie is really
about. But I want everyone to see it. It's available as a rental
through Netflix and, I'm guessing, other similar services. Do yourself
a favor and find a way to watch it. You won't regret it. The denouement
is as emotionally rewarding as anything you'll experience from a
Friday, September 03, 2010
Truths about Islam
"I haven't read
the Koran," but I know it's no more crazy than the, ugh, Christians.
DUDGEON. The myth of moderate Islam is probably the most enduring,
unexamined, and dangerous fallacy of the near-decade since the 9/11
attacks. It's been endorsed and defended by influential people ranging
from the Bush administration to pundits
across the political spectrum and, more recently, by the Obama
administration, which wants us to admire
Islam for its many cultural contributions to the United States(?), and
even the Jewish mayor of New York City(!). We're repeatedly reminded
that Islam is one of three great monotheistic traditions sharing some
sort of common taproot that honors Moses as well as Jesus and is, in
its essence, as committed to ecumenical tolerance as any of the great
world religions. If we can just bring ourselves to accept them, all
will be well. And if we can't, it's more of a reflection on us than
But there's one problem with such characterizations. They're not true.
And they're demonstrably not
true. Both the Koran itself (if any of its defenders would actually
read it) and the history of Islam belie the claim that Islam is somehow
equivalent to, on a par with, or roughly analogous to Judaism,
Christianity, or even Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Shintoism, and
Taoism. It's a thing apart.
The American people as a whole have a seat-of-the-pants understanding
of this, which annoys the intelligentsia no end. We've been waiting
nine years now for muslim voices to speak up louder than their many
apologists and offer up unequivocal, emotionally credible denunciations of the
9/11 attacks, the Hamas/Hizbollah denial of Israel's right to exist,
Iran's repeated calls for extermination of the Jews, and the perverse
phenomena of honor killings, suicide bombers, fatwas against those who
commit so-called heresies, and televised decapitations of infidels, all carried out in the name of Allah.
That hasn't happened.
What we've gotten instead are lame, reluctant,
carefully worded disavowals of the most egregious acts, always followed
by whining complaints about how unfairly moderate muslims are portrayed
as they go about their understated diplomatic efforts to keep
communications open with Islamic organizations of all kinds. Which is
to say, we're not supposed to notice that even the moderate muslims who
attend state dinners and mayoral campaign functions have a disturbing
tendency to sound moderate in English and jihadist in Arabic, while
they continue to engage in inscrutable financial transactions that
mysteriously often involve radical anti-Israel and anti-western
Well, the David Lettermans of the superior caste may not know it, but
there is abundant documentation of what ordinary Americans are
concluding empirically for themselves. An article in today's National
Review introduces a book, Robert Reilly's The
Closing of the Muslim Mind, that many of you may want to
purchase and read. Here's an excerpt from the NR piece:
Why Islamic Moderates Are So Scarce
It goes back to a ninth-century
...Reilly does in fact locate the elusive moderate Islam — back in the
8th and 9th centuries, when the rationalist Mu’tazilites dominated
Islamic thought under Caliph al-Ma’mun. The period is often referred to
as the “golden age of Islam,” when that civilization produced some of
its highest achievements in philosophy and science. It didn’t last. In
849, the second year of the reign of Caliph Ja’afar al-Mutawakkil, the
Mu’tazilites were overthrown. Holding Mu’tazilite beliefs became a
crime punishable by death, and the decidedly anti-rationalist
Ash’arites soon came to dominate the faith, as they would continue to
do, in one form or another, through the modern era.
What makes Closing so
compelling is Reilly’s ability to tie seemingly arcane questions of
Islamic theology to many of the characteristics of Islamic civilization
that we in the West find so hard to fathom. Fundamentally, Ash’arism
was a rejection of “natural law” and reason in favor of an all-powerful
God of pure will and power. The idea of an ordered universe that
behaves according to certain ordained laws -- whether moral or physical
-- would have been understood by the Mu’tazilites. For the Ash’arites,
this was blasphemy, an outrage against God’s omnipotence.
In the language of philosophy, this way of looking at the world is
known, somewhat confusingly, as “voluntarism.” To quote Reilly, it
“holds that God is the primary cause of everything and there are no
secondary causes. There is no causal mediation. Therefore, what may
seem to be ‘natural laws,’ such as the laws of gravity, physics, etc.
are really nothing more than God’s customs or habits, which He is at
complete liberty to break or change at any moment.”
While Christianity recognizes the possibility of miracles, when God
intervenes to supersede natural law, in Islam every nanosecond is the
functional equivalent of a miracle, the result of God’s divine act.
Thus there is no law of gravity, only God’s will, determining moment by
moment that the apple will fall from the tree. Neither is there any
morality, no objective good and evil as we in the West would see it,
only the arbitrary decrees of an all-powerful God. There is no “truth
that is written in our hearts,” only the truths that are written in the
Koran, which could just as well be otherwise if such were the whim of
God. As Ibn Hazm pronounced in the 11th century, “He judges as He
pleases, and whatever He judges is just. . . . If God the Exalted had
informed us that He would punish us for the acts of others . . . all
that would have been right and just.”
The problem, one might say, is obvious. In science, the repudiation of
natural law meant the explicit denial of cause and effect. No wonder
that the rise of the Ash’arites coincided with the decline of a
once-vibrant Islamic intellectual culture after the 13th century. And
no wonder that societies that exalt the power and arbitrary will of God
to the exclusion of reason can hardly understand, let alone embrace,
modern democratic institutions, which are founded, as our Declaration
of Independence makes clear, in the self-evident and enduring truths of
Nor can we be surprised that such cultures endorse institutionalized
domestic violence or rampant terrorism and the murder of innocents. As
hard as it is for the secular Left to accept, Western culture is
founded on and steeped in the Judeo-Christian assumption that our
innate understanding of what is right is a direct reflection of God’s
goodness and justice as reflected in His universal law, to which even
He adheres. We make a mistake when we assume other cultures are
necessarily speaking the same moral language.
They're not speaking the same language, even if some of the names are
the same. That's why there's not only no separation of church and state in
so-called Islamic democracies, but no possibility of such separation. It's literally unthinkable.
Islam is fundamentally
incompatible with western democracies in general and the United States
Constitution in particular. Sharia law is not an idiosyncratic appendix
to Islam that might eventually be surgically removed; it's the whole
point of Islam, which does not mean 'peace' but 'submission.' Islam is
not one of the world's great religions. It's a Dark Age anachronism
that threatens us now every bit as much as it did when it cut Europe
off from the Mediterranean in the middle ages. (That btw is why the
Crusades were necessary. Reconnecting Europe with the roots of
civilization is what precipitated the Renaissance and launched the Age
of Enlightenment. Sorry if your western civ course omitted that fact.)
Moderate muslims who simultaneously claim allegiance to the United
States and to their religion
are automatically apostates. That's why they're in the minority and
that's why they're mostly silent. That's why the ultimate danger of
Islam is not terrorism or even jihadism, but 'Dawah'. It's a term you
should research for yourselves. It has everything to do with the
contemporary behavior of muslims in Europe and Canada and everything to
do with the mosque debate.
You could look it up. But if you do, look past the initial Google
pages, which are all muslim propaganda. Look deeper. For the people who
know what's really going on.
Then report back here.
John Adler has a devastating new ad
against Jon Runyan in NJ's 3rd district.
Runyan has a donkey on his property, proving he's a fake Republican
Look at that donkey. Should that buy a zoning break for a
PR. This isn't going to be as easy as it looks, folks. Just because
Obama has been a truly, unbelievably awful president doesn't mean the
Republicans are going to waltz into control of congress and the senate.
People keep quoting Lincoln saying, "You can't fool all of the people
all of the time," but they conveniently forget that he also said, "You can fool all of the people some of
Now there are pollsters and pundits, some of them Democrats, who are
predicting the Republicans can pick up as many as 90 seats in the House
of Representatives. They're having you on, sports fans.
The important thing to remember if you're a "likely voter" is that you
objecters to ObamaNation are all as dumb as dirt. Those of you who live
in flyover country, anyway. Many of you are Christians, which means you
can subtract maybe 30 or more additional IQ points immediately. So
you're like down there in the range of approximately 60 or so IQs with
the actual election 60 days away.
Is there any chance you'll remember what it is you're so damn fired up
about by the time the election actually occurs that you'll come out to
vote? Not likely. Meanwhile, the Democrats will have all their buses
ready and waiting to take their
low IQ voters to the polls whether they remember what day it is or not.
It's time to ratchet our expectations downward. We're not going to win
back the house or senate. Long before that Tuesday in November,
whenever it is, the newspapers and network news shows we all rely on
for our news will have convinced most of you that there was never a
time when U.S. unemployment was less than 9.5 percent, when the U.S.
econonomy wasn't headed in the right direction after an eternity of
heading in the wrong, Republican direction, and when everything in the
country wasn't being painfully corrected by massive new government
interventions for our own good.
I know you think you'll be
able to remember differently. I sympathize. All I'm trying to do is
moderate your expectations. You know how so many of you think a degree
from the University of Idaho is a higher education credential? Wrong.
There are like only ten or twelve unversities that teach the REAL
stuff: Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Chicago, Berkeley, Harvard,
Columbia, Harvard, Stanford, Yale, and of course, Harvard. Is the
University of Idaho anywhere on that list? No. That's what you're up
They're going to find a way to fool all of you. You'll see your current
senator draped in a purple-fringed white toga and you'll say, "Oh, he
looks so much like my favorite, George Clooney, only in a
purple-fringed white toga." They'll show you an earmark they've created
in your house district that is just for you -- "direct cash subsidies
to halfwit evangelical Christians who once attended a Tea Party and
don't know any better." They'll pick you off like berries from a bush
because you're too damn dumb to know when you're being had.
I'm not trying to be cruel. I know you mean well. But it really is time to accept that your
government is smarter than you are. Time for you to accept that they really do know better how much
you should eat, smoke, drink, and drive -- and why it would be
criminally wrong to let you live much longer if your drinking and
smoking and eating habits make your old age more expensive than the
much better educated drinkers, smokers, and eaters of the U.S. Senate
deem proper. Plus, you keep driving everywhere. They don't do that.
They have chauffeurs. In short, they're more RESPONSIBLE than you are.
Let's face it. Christians are roughly equivalent to the KKK. Aren't
they? Have you EVER had an op-ed published by the New York Times or Washington Post? No. You haven't. I
So don't get your hopes up, assholes.
THIS HAS BEEN A MESSAGE PUBLISHED BY THE REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE,
MICHAEL STEELE, CHAIRMAN.
don't think about it enough. It's the most unusual power position in
the history of government and the world. Every other executive position
is easier: less complex, less compromised, less hybrid, and for the
last half century or so, less important.
In the American tradition he's a kind of father, because George
Washington was our first and he was the father of his country. Which
was expressly different from being a king, meaning that he was never
meant to be the father of your childhood years -- invulnerable and
capable of healing every hurt or righting every wrong. He was more the
father of our awareness years, a real and flawed person whom we
respected because he had done his best, stood up for us through thick
and thin, without accepting that he was infallible. Popes are
infallible. That's easier. You can retreat to the doctrines of
generations. Dictators are infallible because they can deal with
everyone who thinks differently until the day when the peasants come
with their pitchforks to deal with you. Prime ministers never have to
be fathers of any kind. The expectations are different. They may have a
duty to be inspiring at times, but their chief role is to be effective
in running the government, not to be an evocative symbol of a whole
nation with ironically less power in his nation's government than he
does in affairs of the whole world.
The first president who had to deal with this level of complexity was
Harry Truman. The bomb gave him life and death power around the globe
while he was nevertheless constrained by the constitution and its
separation of powers at home. Little wonder that he chose not to run
for a second term he was constitutionally entitled to try for. Who can
accustom himself to unlimited power and authority on the one hand and
the need for negotiation with jealous competing if subsidiary powers on the other?
Only someone of very special qualities. The challenge breaks most
because most men do not have characters consisting of a string of
oxymoronic attributes. The presidency requires men to be simultaneously
egoistic and humble, adamant and conciliatory, fervently ambitious though stoically
patient, a leader and yet a follower too, spiritual but pragmatic, emotional without being hysterical, passionate yet not ideologically obsessed, honest but not rigid, confident but not arrogant, common but uncommonly
so, and brave but never a bully.
In these terms, they all
fail. This is both the weakness and the glory of the American
tradition. As the living personal symbol of the ideal called the
constitution the president is sworn to protect, he can never entirely
succeed. As the constitution itself can never entirely succeed, because
it is the product of fallible human beings who are, by definition,
bound to fall short of their highest ideals. It's our constant
national reminder that government is as inherently flawed as we all are
individually. Why we should trust it this
far and no farther.
Because of the natural contradictions inherent in the job description,
presidents tend to get bigger or smaller in office. Not that I liked
him, but Truman got bigger. He set in place the implacable western
strategy for winning the Cold War, even if he couldn't always live up
to the demands of his own strategy. Eisenhower got smaller, just a
little, but age and a certain lassitude made him finally less than the
Supreme Allied Commander he had been in World War II. Kennedy got
bigger. For all his personal flaws, he rallied from defeat and even
humiliation to be, for many, an inspiring symbol of youth and vision
that transcended his fairly modest record of accomplishment. Lyndon
Johnson shrank steadily in office, until he was a cornered badger,
despite his towering, intimidating personality. Nixon grew and grew and
then imploded, done in by the twisted nature of his uncommon
commonness. Gerald Ford grew, just not enough and not in time. Carter
practically disappeared; he never had the flexibility required to be a
teacher today and a listener tomorrow. Reagan had a gift for the
presidency. He got big and might have gotten bigger had not old age
tracked him down. George H. W. Bush got first big and then small.
Different times exert pressure on different aspects of the oxymoron
game. Clinton, conversely, got smaller, then bigger, and finished
smaller. He never understood the honesty thing. Like Nixon, he had the
potential, but he also had a fatal flaw. George W. Bush got big and
then gradually faded away. His resolve remained, but he lost his
understanding of what the president must always do, which is to stay in
touch and not withdraw into silence.
You see? They all fail.
That's part of the lesson, part of the American experience, the
American tradition. Ultimately, we are responsible. At some point, the
parents always become the children, and the children must become the
parents. That's what elections are about. Why we're supposed to be the ones in
Now we have Obama. He's gotten smaller faster than any president since
the dawn of the modern presidency. Even on a glamorous vacation, he
seems more prisoner than president. He doesn't want to be the leader of
the free world. He doesn't want to contend with American constitutional
politics. He wants to be the old kind of father, the regal kind. He
wants to tell us what to do, how to act, and how to fold our napkin
after the meal. He has pre-teen children. That's how he wants to treat
us. He's egoistic, adamant, ambitious, rigid, arrogant, unemotional, ideologically obsessed, and a (passive-aggressive) bully. No oxymorons here. Which means he'll never be big enough to be the kind of father the
American tradition has determined the president should be. And the more
we resist and rebel, the colder and more remote he will become. He's
the dad who retreats to his study and stops talking to everyone.
It's a shame. A tragedy for him. Let's hope it's not a tragedy for the
rest of us. That's what elections are for. In America.
Wednesday, September 01, 2010
saw on Saturday. Who is it that's "bitter and clinging"?
Sometimes, certain stories seem to belong together. The fancy term for
it is pattern recognition. The simpler term is gut instinct.
Why did all those people show up in Washington, DC, last Saturday? GodThe
knows, the pundits are obsessed with the question. What's interesting
is how much they don't like the answer. How many of them, on both sides
of the aisle, don't like the obvious
answer. The sturdy middle class that pays all the bills has reached the
conclusion that something has gone terribly wrong with the Republic.
So they hied themselves to Washington, listened politely to all the
speeches, picked up after themselves (which has always been their way),
and went back home without providing the mass media with a single ugly
picture to tout as proof of their horribleness. But this hasn't stopped
all and sundry from finding something deeply disturbing, even
despicable about it. Jim
Treacher did a masterful job of summing up the one MSM talking point:
Presented without comment:
“Conservative commentator Glenn Beck and tea party champion Sarah
appealed Saturday to a vast, predominantly white crowd on the National
Mall to help restore traditional American values and honor Martin
Luther King’s message.” — Associated
“Attendees at the rally Saturday largely honored organizer requests
that they not bring banners or political signs. Instead, the
predominantly white crowd, many seated on folding chairs and
accompanied by their children, wore t-shirts with slogans including
‘Got principles?’ and ‘Restoring Honor.’” — AFP
“Meanwhile, many in the predominantly white crowd bent over backward
to insist that they are not racists and to note that the crowd was
courteous, despite heat and density.” — James
“Beck says he and his overwhelmingly white followers ‘are the
inheritors and protectors of the civil- rights movement.’” — Ben
“Though the audience at the event was overwhelmingly white, many of
the speakers were African-American, including a woman who sang a song
about unity.” — Brian
“Claiming the legacy of the nation’s Founding Fathers and repeatedly
activist Martin Luther King Jr., the speakers at the ‘Restoring Honor’
rally exhorted a vast and overwhelmingly white crowd to concentrate not
on the history that has scarred the nation but instead on what makes it
‘good.’” — Philip
Rucker & Carol Morello, Washington Post
“A relatively dense and overwhelmingly white crowd stretched from
the steps of the Lincoln Memorial out past the Washington Monument.” — Mark
“The speaker list was diverse, including African Americans, Latinos
and Native Americans; Jews and Christians; clergymen, military
and sports stars, including Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals.
The crowd, however, was overwhelmingly white.” — Michael
A. Memoli and Kim Geiger, LA Times
“Out in the overwhelmingly white audience… politics was everywhere,
with Tea Party supporters describing the damage they envision for
President Barack Obama’s Democrats in upcoming midterm elections in
November.” — Mitch
Potter, Toronto Star
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a
nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by
the content of their character.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.
It bears noting, however, that the so-called intellectual wing of the
conservative establishment is just as unhappy about what happened as
the progressives. Goldberg
quotes Ross Douthat's "Two Americas" critique, which is unnervingly
reminiscent of John Edwards's elitist hatcheting of the nation into two
New York Times columnist Ross
Douthat recently argued that
there are “two Americas.” The first America is wholly secular, “where
allegiance to the Constitution trumps ethnic differences, language
barriers and religious divides. An America where the newest arrival to
our shores is no less American than the ever-so-great granddaughter of
the Pilgrims.” The other America is culturally defined: “This America
speaks English, not Spanish or Chinese or Arabic. It looks back to a
particular religious heritage: Protestantism originally, and then a
Judeo-Christian consensus that accommodated Jews and Catholics as well.”
Douthat makes some good points, but he
downplays the relationship
between what are really the two faces of one America. It is America’s
conception of itself as a people that keeps it loyal to the
Constitution. The Constitution, absent our cultural fidelity to it,
might as well be the rules for a role-playing game.
Parker takes a curious delight in ridiculing the process of
personal redemption that has long been a staple of the uniquely
American capacity for forgiveness:
My name is Glenn Beck, and I need help
Saturday's Beckapalooza was yet another step in Beck's own personal
journey of recovery. He may as well have greeted the crowd of his
fellow disaffected with:
"Hi. My name is Glenn, and I'm messed
Beck's history of alcoholism and addiction is familiar to any who
follow him. He has made no secret of his past and is quick to make fun
of himself. As he once said: "You can get rich making fun of me. I
know. I've made a lot of money making fun of me."
Self-mockery -- and cash -- seems to come easily to him.
Any cursory search of Beck quotes also reveals the language of the
-- "It is still morning in America. It just happens to be kind of a
head-pounding, hung-over, vomiting-for-four-hours kind of morning in
-- "I have not heard people in the Republican Party yet admit that they
have a problem."
-- "You know, we all have our inner demons. I, for one -- I can't speak
for you, but I'm on the verge of moral collapse at any time. It can
happen by the end of the show."
Indeed. After the hangover comes admission of the addiction, followed
by surrender to a higher power and acknowledgment that one is always
Har de har har. 300,000 people at the mall amounted to a 12-step
meeting. Kewl. That explains it.
Why are they all so uncomfortable? I think there are two reasons. Two
reasons that are contradictory of one another. I'll explain, but first
I'll cite the real reasons all those folks showed up. Two other reasons that somehow haven't
occurred to most of the intellectuals because they're so
elemental: birth and death in America.
Birth. Here's an outstanding precis
of what the growth of government means in real terms. I'm quoting from
the conclusion, but read the whole thing. As promised in the opening
paragraph, it's snark-free.
• Fact: There are a record number of
Americans dependent upon government anti-poverty programs thanks to the
• Fact: Expanded access to welfare and food stamps greatly increases
the number of children born to unwed mothers
• Fact: Single-parent families correlate to higher crime rates
with the unprecedented increase in welfare, food stamps and
unemployment, we will also see an unparalleled increase in violent
crime within the next dozen or so years.
Obama and his Democrats sycophants in
Congress will have created
hundreds of thousands of single-parent families. These kids, born
out-of-wedlock, will find themselves trapped in lives of criminality at
far higher rates than kids from two-parent families.
Fast forward a dozen years, give or take
a couple, and we will see a true Obama Crime Wave. I predict
that we will see an unprecedented increase in crime. In fact, you could
call it historic.
And the question is not whether it will
happen. The question is whether the Obama Left is doing it on purpose.
Death. Another outstanding piece
illuminating the implications of ObamaCare.
Our patients have always expected a
certain standard of care from their doctors, which includes providing
them with pertinent information that may affect their quality of life.
Because the issue this election is so stark—literally life and death
for millions of Americans in the years ahead—we are this week posting a
"Dear Patient" letter in our waiting rooms.
The letter states in unambiguous language what the new law means:
"Dear Patient: Section 1311 of the new health care legislation gives
the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services and her appointees the
power to establish care guidelines that your doctor must abide by or
face penalties and fines. In making doctors answerable in the federal
bureaucracy this bill effectively makes them government employees and
means that you and your doctor are no longer in charge of your health
care decisions. This new law politicizes medicine and in my opinion
destroys the sanctity of the doctor-patient relationship that makes the
American health care system the best in the world."
Our doctor's letter points out that, in addition to "badly exacerbating
the current doctor shortage," ObamaCare will bring "major cost
increases, rising insurance premiums, higher taxes, a decline in new
medical techniques, a fall-off in the development of miracle drugs as
well as rationing by government panels and by bureaucrats like
passionate rationing advocate Donald Berwick that will force delays of
months or sometimes years for hospitalization or surgery."
If government policies regulating birth and death threaten the future
of the nation, the people who have always been silently responsible for
making the nation work in spite of government will finally make
themselves heard and felt. That's a no-brainer. The remaining question
is what the people who object to that are objecting to.
Which brings us back to our two (much more trivial) reasons for elitist
discomfort. First, intellectuals of most stripes, liberal and
conservative, are superior to the idea of God. To them, he's the big
bin into which less than gifted intellects toss all their doubts and
fears and any issues beyond their book-learning. They may think they're
not inimical to the concept of divinity, but that's because they don't
understand the amount of ego they have invested in the diminutive
micro-world they have created as their own personal manifestation of
reason. It's an error of scale of epic proportions. You see it again
and again. They think they understand the economy but they cannot
comprehend the staggering size and scale and number of variables and
adaptiveness of the economy. They think they understand climate, but
they cannot comprehend the staggering size and scale and number of
variables and adaptiveness of the earth's climate. They think, with
godlike hubris, that they understand people, but they cannot comprehend
the staggering size
and scale and number of variables and adaptiveness of the population
they've been taught to regard as contemptible, statistical units.
The second reason is like unto the first. Their whole identity consists
of their capacity to know, to label, to categorize, to predict, to
pronounce judgment. Which makes them a superior class in a country
they've been indoctrinated to measure against a vague and impossible
ideal of absolute equality. Everybody the same, regardless of effort or
ability, except for them. They absent themselves from the picture
because their role is to be the discerning eagle eyes above the scene.
They fly, they see, they know, and the rest of us are down in the mud
killing each other at the water hole.
Thing is, every nation and culture in history has had these same eaglesvultures
seeking to manage things for the rest of us.
The worst possible event to witness from the air is the animals at the
water hole NOT killing each other. That would be a threat. Which is
when it's time to damn them for being animals of a particular color.
Even if they aren't. And even if it isn't supposed to matter in their
grander scheme of things.
Which is to say their biggest, most invincible hatred is their hatred
of themselves. (They're not white? Mostly, they are.) Projected
onto us because, of course, we matter less
than they do. Why? Because the entire architecture of the universe
depends upon it.
that shrieking wasn't him. It was a Lab who wanted to go home.
Really. I'm given to understand that the president made a speech last
night about Iraq, Afghanistan, and the meaning of life, the universe and
everything? I missed it.
It's Raebert's fault. He had his second obedience class. And he
actually had a moment with the instructor in which he didn't embarrass
himself or us. At one point, she said he was smart and he was thinking. [Gasp.] He was learning how to "Stay." (Right. Like that's going to happen. But he has a talent for showing off. Especially if there are blondes involved.) We were so proud of him. Everybody else was envious. Good boy.
Where was I? Sorry. So, what I was noodling was this. Maybe all of you could tell me how well the president was thinking in his speech. I've seen
some excerpts from it, and I haven't personally spotted anything yet
that amounts to Raebert's deerhound breakthrough in that respect, but
I've been distracted. You know. I hate to not cover things of
importance. Fill me in.
. Ordinarily I don't post if I have nothing to
add. But this is too
good not to post. And even
the usual airy-fairy
Hotair characterization seems, uh, appropriate. We wouldn't want to
out the sound file with our impolitic falling-on-the-floor guffaws, now
Oh. Yeah. We do have a little
something to add. An entry from the Y2000
Who's Who in Shuteye Nation. (Hard to think we've been tracking
this asswipe for 10 years,
Bill Priss. Liberal°
and eunuch co-host of CTN's Crosswire. Who says you have to be
to be a successful political commentator? What you have to do is start
talking, keep talking, and don't stop talking, especially if there are
guests or anybody else on camera who doesn't agree that the best
system is one in which every dime of the Gross National Product is
away in a futile attempt to protect 260 million fat cowards from the
of being free.
It's not called
the Gross National Product anymore. It's
called the Gross Domestic
Product. A change that came in the same year, I suspect, when Democrats
switched from commie red to existentially blue on the electoral map and Republicans from
patriotic blue to raging racist red. That kind of thing.
. So needless. I like
this guy as an actor. Why must he insist
on driving me (and 150 million other Americans) out of his audience?
Cusack wants ‘Satanic Death Cult Center at Fox News HQ’ Tweeting left-wing actor whines about
‘haters’ while calling Glenn Beck ‘racist’ and ‘fascist.’
By Matt Philbin Culture and Media Institute August 30, 2010
Want a tutorial in the hypocrisy, vitriol and deep unhappiness of the
American left? You don’t need to subject yourself to MSNBC, or wade
through the muck of Daily Kos. Actor John Cusack’s Twitter feed is a
clearing house for liberal memes and nasty rhetoric.
Here’s his peaceful entry from Aug. 29 [All spelling from original
Tweets, but Cusack admits: “I type with I phone fast and loose with no
Johncusack: I AM FOR A SATANIC DEATH CULT CENTER AT FOX NEWS HQ AND
OUTSIDE THE OFFICES ORDICK ARMEYAND NEWT GINGRICH-and all the GOP
Presumably, this is a reference to the controversy over the Ground Zero
Mosque. And “all the GOP WELFARE FREAKS” seems to follow on this theme:
Johncusack: taht's the gop philospy.. gourge the stae while claiming to
be rugged individuaist who live by the free market - biggest joke there
Johncusack: think of our the us treasury as the last frontier to be
stripped mined if only pesky gov itelf wasn't in the way.
But elsewhere, Cusack said Glenn Beck (at his “Restoring Honor” rally)
was “unifying whites -class war of blame and fear” and said Beck was
starting a “class war to capitallize on economy they destroyed” – a
strange accusation from a man that claims the GOP wants to gut the
treasury. And what liberal rant would be complete without the leftist’s
two favorite pejoratives? Back’s [sic[ tactics, he wrote were
“strraigjt fr tfriendly racist playbiook.” A minute later, Cusack
added, “Sorry frendly fascist playbook."
Elsewhere, he wrote: “[Charles] krathhammers a joke son please do me a
fav and dont watch.” He called another Tweeter a “flag sucking
halfwit,” presumably for the sin of patriotism.
Strong words from a man who also Tweeted about having “to weed out all
the little trolls who can't bare it when someone has an opinion they
dont like.” He “blocked as many haters as i could a i still can't get
below 200 thou,” but confessed, “i guess someone turned off the
automatic hate spewing machine.. i kind of miss them.”
Whew! Glad some of the hate’s gone from Twitter.
Cusack, who, according to OpenSecrets.org gave $1,000 to Vice President
Biden’s 2008 presidential campaign, has a long history of using
strident partisan rhetoric. He called the Bush administration
“criminally incompetent robber barons,” and “the neo-con/White House
Iraq Group lunatics,” and demanded that Attorney General Eric Holder
imprison the guilty Bush officials. He also did an anti-McCain ad for
the far-left group MoveOn.org.
Because he thinks he's a highly educated intellectual? If so, then why
drop out of college in your first year? I don't get it.
Oh, that's right. I forgot. His background is available to see at Wiki:
Cusack was born in Evanston, Illinois,
to an Irish Catholic family. His father, Dick Cusack (1925–2003), and
siblings Ann, Joan, Bill, and Susie, are also actors; his father was
also a documentary filmmaker, owned a film production company, and was
a friend of activist Philip
Berrigan. Cusack's mother, Nancy (née Carolan), is a former
mathematics teacher and political activist. Cusack spent a year at New
York University before dropping out, saying that he had "too much fire
in his belly".
I can see the 'too much fire in the belly thing.' For acting. But it
pretty much eliminates your credibility when it comes to anything else.
And all he does is hurt
himself. He can't spell. He can't write a grammatical sentrence.
He can't think (as if Twitter allowed for that anyway...)
It's not like his career is on fire. What's he done since ConAir, the high point of actions
pics before The Expendables?
A few horror movies? I don't get it. Somebody please explain.
The closest I can come to understanding is the experience I used to
have when I was a management consultant travelling on planes all the time. I
realized that your seatmates were more likely to tell you the truth
about their lives than they would their closest friends. I was
particularly interested in lawyers. They always told me they hated
their lives. Hated being lawyers.
Maybe it's the same for actors. Despite all the money. When people love
and admire you, it's never you
they love and admire. Only a character you played. Maybe as you
approach your middle years, that becomes a cross to bear (or should
that be "bare"?) You're old enough that you should be a grownup. But
you're still nothing but a face. You want to matter, even if it cuts
your future audience in half.
Help me out here.
The thing is, there are consequences to our decisions. You became an
actor. You're good at emoting. You have a knack for memorizing lines.
You have money. People turn your way when you speak. But you dropped
out of NYU before you turned 20. A trade you made. When people turn
your way, they're looking at your face. Period. They're not looking for
you to educate them. That's what you gave up. You're a high school kid
who became a movie star.
What am I missing? Why should we listen? Why should we care? Why should
we keep coming to your movies if you're intent on being a sanctimonious
Monday, August 30, 2010
The irony is so
thick you could cut it with a dull Olbermann.
Last year was quite an experience as I
was encouraged to run for Minnesota Governor. While ultimately I
decided not to run, during that process, I was flooded with
questionnaires from organizations seeking my views or trying to
influence my opinions. One of the things which surprised me, though, is
the nature of the questions I was asked by some organizations.
What particularly caught my eye was a questionnaire from a “Women’s”
group. What were the questions? The majority of them were about
abortion, gay marriage, and how much we should expand big government
In the midst of the deepest recession in living memory and
international uncertainties, those don’t strike me — or most people —
as the issues keeping women (or men) up at night.
Where were the ideas of economic freedom and economic opportunity?
Where were the questions about challenges that women business owners
face in small business start-ups which are the mainstay of Main Streets
throughout the country? Where were the questions about the national
debt and its impact on our children’s future? Where were the questions
about how we best educate the children of our country so that we have a
qualified and well positioned workforce? This list goes on and on.
This self-described “women’s” group and many like it are more
interested in litmus tests on liberal social issues than on what will
materially improve women’s lives in the real day-to-day world where we
are raising kids, struggling to make ends meet, and hoping that we or
our spouses don’t lose their job (or will find one soon).
For decades now we have talked about the glass ceiling women once
faced, and to a certain extent still do. But I am more worried about
the glass box that liberal feminists have placed women and “women’s
issues” in, all tied up with a pretty pink bow. That glass box is all
about keeping women and “women’s issues” firmly in their place on the
left side of the political spectrum.
But isn't that what identity politics are all about, as practiced by
the left? There's the Little Black Box of African-American racialist
politics, the Little Brown Box of hispanic amnesty politics, the Little
Hypochondriac Box filled with people who want to see their doctor every
week and get their drugs for free, the Little Senior Box of frightened
Social Security and Medicare recipients, the Little Green Box of "save
the planet" totalitarians, the Little Card-Check Box of union members who want what they want regardless,
the Little Homosexual Box peopled by those who want you to not only
watch but cheer their bedroom activities, and the Little Atheist Box of
secularists who want the Judeo-Christian God (exclusively) run out of
the body politic, so that there's more room for the Little Muslim Box,
the Little Buddhist Box, the Little Wiccan Box, and the not-so-little
All of these are supposed to be defined by a
handful of box-specific issues whose only point of commonality is that
they give the government more power to tell everyone in the country
what to do. Democratic unity consists of chaining these separate,
discrete boxes together into a permanent voting majority under the
absolute control of a federal establishment run by Ivy League lawyers
consisting of (overwhelmingly) white men and (a few useful idiot) white
Everything that applies to the glass box described by Laura Brod at
Hotair also applies to the people who are supposed to occupy all the
other little boxes. African-Americans who are pro-life, pro-choice when
it comes to alternatives to the union-mandated incompetencies of
government schools, and pro-small business because they own one or
would like to are banished from the box (with prejudice and sometimes minstrel cartoons) as Uncle Toms.
It's unimaginable to Harry Reid and other Dems that any American of
Hispanic descent wouldn't prefer the Little Brown Box to border
enforcement, the rule of law, and state governments that aren't
bankrupted by non-paying parasites on local healthcare, education, law
enforcement, judicial, and child welfare resources for which they pay taxes like other law-abiding citizens. The Little Senior
Box is supposed to be a wholly owned subsidiary of the AARP lobby, with
no thought about the burden and legacy of debt being piled up on their
children or grandchildren or the potentially fatal results of having
financially stressed governments more in charge of their declining years than
doctors. It's impossible for progressives to imagine that people could
care about the environment, ecology, and endangered species without
believing these goals are best accomplished by a regressive tax on resources that are
still available -- and safe in terms of all our environmental ideals --
if we'd only let people look for them. Et cetera.
Just a couple of additional points to be made about the "box"
mentality. There's nothing liberal, tolerant, hopeful. or truly
forward-looking about it. It regards all people as intrinsically
selfish and devoid of individuality, human moraility, and capacity for
unity. None of us can ever transcend the initial boxes we check on a
government form -- sex, race or ethnic origin, age, education level,
income, and medical condition. When we check a box in one of these
categories, that's our box, now and forevermore, and in progressive political
calculus we damn well better stay there or be ridiculed as racists,
sexists, homophobes, nativists, anti-science creationists, blah blah. In point of fact, it's the grimmest kind of
reductionism, the ultimate denial of the value of the experience of
life itself. Only the wise white power lords of the federal government
can be trusted to keep us from each other's throats as we slash at each
other with the sharpest blades of our narrowest interests. The idea
that these boxes might just be individual pots for seedlings whose
produce grows freely upward and outward into a delightful natural
garden that kens and glories in the whole is beyond the soulless,
geometric view of human existence progressive box collectors prefer.
The second point is esthetic but not really subsidiary. Listen --
really listen -- to the song video up top. Pete Seeger is/was a liberal
icon. Who was thinking of little boxes first? Pay particular attention
to his repeated mentions of the most important little box of all -- The
Little University Box. He and his ilk captured that box first. (And
they're still drinking their martinis, aren't they?) And the box
metaphor was the basis for how they set about conquering the rest of
us. By a process of annexation, box by box, until they had a string of
addends that looked to them like unity, as far as people of their
collective mentality could ever understand unity. Note his tone -- the
avuncular, friendly, approachable contempt of his "folk music." Note,
too, the fatal error of scale that betrays the narrowness of his
vision: he lists "business" as a box.
It may be. But it's one gigantically huge and kaleidoscopic box that
contains 90+ percent of everything that real working people do to
sustain themselves and each other. I don't need to do the butcher to
candlestickmaker list. That's the box that contains almost all of us.
But it's overridingly vital for them to keep us in a box and convince
us that it's as small as all their other possessions.
Just subtract the cheery brightness.
The box that really isn't a
box is the United States of America.
Beck's America. He said, "no signs." Do you see any signs? They're just
Do you remember the archaic term "melting pot?" This explanation won't
make any sense to those of you who have never eaten a stew or vegetable
soup. So if you're one of the ones who always eats all the ingredients
of your meals separately, one dish for each ingredient, I apologize. My
metaphor will fall flat. But the melting pot idea never suggested that
a pea would stop being a pea, a potato a potato, a beef
cube a beef cube, an onion an onion, etc, just because it was part
of a delicious entree. The idea was that the stew was more than the sum
of its ingredients, nothing lost and much gained.
Try eating a stew unmixed ingredient by unmixed ingredient, unwashed, uncut,
unseasoned, unsimmered together, each with a sign that says, "I'm
celery and I'm mad," or "I'm beef and I feel guilty for what I'm doing
to your colon," or "I'm a Scottish leek. Don't eat me; I taste like shit." That's what we call the progressive
dream. Tasty, ain't it?
years ago, when my daughter was 10, she would have loved this pic. She's
Just can't take him seriously anymore. There were five Marx Brothers.
Groucho, Chico, Harpo, Zeppo, and Gummo. Only three of them were funny.
Same with the other Marx
brothers: Karl, Mao, Castro, Hugo, and Bummo.
Zeppo and Gummo quit to become Hollywood publicists. Hugo and Bummo
quit to become sideshow clowns. Same thing.
You disagree? Sideshow clown as Hollywood publicist? Try this video.
President Obama criticizes the economic
policies of former President Bush and the current "partisan minority"
in Congress. Obama asks Republicans to drop the economic "blockade."
Huh? The Prez holds veto-proof majorities in both houses of congress and he's waxing bellicose about a minority BLOCKADE? Kewl! Truly inspired drollery? No. Mere publicityspeak, Bummo style.
I know. I know, you're tempted to say he's doing a pretty good
impression of Groucho from Duck Soup:
I grant you the pomp and circumstance. And the casting of Michelle is persuasively comedy-haute
couture, though typically Photoshopped-slim.
But I don't see any teleprompters. Or any of the concupiscience. Or the
wit. Or the self-conscious self-contradiction (That's what had us fooled at first.) He believes his own dumb punchline. Publicist. Oh well.
The various Marx Brothers "Droppos" all had the same weakness. When
they tried to be funny, they weren't. When they tried to be serious,
they were ridiculous. Something about pompous Patrician out-of-touchness
Sorry. Forgot to mention Johnno. Good friend of Bummo. Sheryl Crow affirms they both use ONE square.
Did you wave at them? Good girls. We're proud of you.
All kidding aside. Two years in. Everything is still his predecessor's
fault? Even if it were true, it's no sign of a man, a leader, or a
president. He's just a nerd riding a little girl's bike with a silly
helmet he thinks is proof against everything from bird droppings to
flat-out stompings. The bird droppings are the last remaining fallout
from the Bush administration. The stompings are the product of his own
spectacularly misguided and destructive policies.
You can supply the sound effects for
Good luck with that, Bummo. It really isn't funny. Even burlesque
costumery can't cover that up.
So. If the Obama presidency were a parrot...
uh, yeah. You get the picture. Nailed to the perch. For two more years.